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Waspie_Dwarf

Virgin Galactic is returning to powered flight

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Waspie_Dwarf

Virgin Galactic is returning to powered flights, CEO says, in a crucial next step for the spaceship company

Quote

Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides said his company will soon return to powered flights for the first time in three years.

"We're ready to go into powered flight," Whitesides said on Thursday at the Mars Society Convention in Irvine, California.

Virgin Galactic has not tested a powered flight of one of its spaceships since the fatal crash of Spaceship Enterprise on Oct. 31, 2014.

arrow3.gif  Read More: CNBC

 

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Waspie_Dwarf
On 1/13/2018 at 0:10 PM, skookum said:

Virgin Galatic say they will be ready for tourists this year, maybe within months.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

Virgin Galactic has not yet achieved a powered flight with the VSS Unity, something they achieved three years ago with VSS Enterprise, before the crash.

Secondly Virgin Galactic's claims of being close to operation flights are notoriously over optimistic. They made similar claims as long ago as 2012 (see here: Virgin Galactic flights to blast off in 2013).

As recently as April last year Richard Branson was saying that he would be, "very disappointed," if SpaceShipTwo had not reached reach space by the end of 2017 (see here), and yet no powered flights have happened in the intervening time.

Virgin Galactic WILL take passengers into space, of that I have no doubt. I remain to be convinced it will be this year. I am also beginning to doubt they will be first. Blue Origin's New Sheperd is also undergoing test flights before taking passengers to space, and they have managed to reach space seven times already... which is seven more times than Virgin Galactic have managed.

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Derek Willis
On 1/15/2018 at 3:44 PM, Waspie_Dwarf said:

I'm not going to hold my breath.

Virgin Galactic are beginning to sound a bit like the nuclear fusion industry. To paraphrase, "Commercial launches are always two years away".

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Derek Willis

I wonder if Virgin's problem was that developing SpaceShip One was "too easy". Basically, in 2001 Paul Allen invested about $25 million in a project that had been started by Scaled Composites a couple years earlier. In October 2004 - and without any major mishaps - SpaceShip One won the $10 million Ansari X-Prize. Scaling-up the technology to develop SpaceShip Two perhaps did not seem as difficult as it has turned out to be. Virgin initially invested $100 million and were confident commercial flights would start in 2010. After an eight year delay, and a further $500 million, there still has been no "all up" test flight by SpaceShip Two, let alone commercial flights.

I have a feeling it will all come good over the next eighteen months or so. I think Virgin will receive massive publicity when they begin commercial flights in the summer of 2019 - perhaps even on July 20th, the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11. Thereafter, Virgin have to scale-up their operations to recoup the investment. That might take some time...

Edited by Derek Willis

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