We have good news to share.
The 10/22 flight will be the first of two that the space tourism company has planned to complete testing of its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft system and should have just two test pilots on board.
Virgin Galactic said last month that the second test spaceflight will then have four ‘mission specialists’ inside the cabin… If both test flights succeed, Virgin Galactic expects to fly founder Sir Richard Branson in the first quarter of 2021.
Now THAT would be something!!!!!
A spokesperson for Virgin added that the Oct. 22 date is meant to mark the beginning of a flight window, so it is possible the flight will take place shortly thereafter, Sheetz wrote. Virgin also plans four-hour test flights of SpaceShipTwo’s carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, on Oct. 1 and Oct. 7.
The race is underway. China’s interest in high-speed conventional weapons has revitalized the US R&D in hypersonic technology. Current developments are focused on two types of systems: Boost-glide maneuvering vehicles and airbreathing scramjets.
“Hypersonic weapons overfly our air defense systems and underfly our missile defense systems.” – Mike Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for R&E. “Our key here is we want to deliver hypersonics at scale; we want to go beyond the prototypes.” – Mark Lewis, Director of Defense R&E.
Why is this important? This was the first time SpaceX recovered a booster following a National Security Space Launch mission.