Friday, October 3, 2008

WhiteKnightTwo - Good and Bad News

Two pieces of interesting news have come put concerning WhiteKnightTwo in the past couple of days. WhiteKnightTwo, of course, is the carrier aircraft for SpaceShipTwo, aboard which tourist space flights will be launched.

Bad news first: The initial flight testing of Eve, the first WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, were supposed to happen within the next month or so. However, they have been postponed for at least a couple of months. Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites (the creators of Eve) have been very quiet about why the flight testing has been postponed; they only say they'll conduct the testing when they are ready.

And now onto the good news: Virgin Galactic is now formally looking into making use of the WhiteKnightTwo craft for scientific studies. It was suggested before that this would be possible, but these are the first steps toward actually doing it. Specifically, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is interested in placing scientific instruments onto the vehicle during the flight testing, as it will be making regular flights at a height of 50,000 feet, which is twice as high as most of its current studies.

This should provide Virgin Galactic with some supplemental income while it awaits the completion of SpaceShipTwo... that is, if Eve ever gets off the ground.

Progress: 4.03%  Flight Time: 0:06:05

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