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Space & Astronomy

Virgin Galactic reveals its latest space plane

By T.K. Randall
March 30, 2021 · Comment icon 5 comments

The latest addition to Virgin Galactic's fleet. Image Credit: Virgin Galactic
Sir Richard Branson's fledgling space tourism firm has revealed the latest member of its burgeoning fleet.
It's been a bumpy few years for Virgin Galactic, especially with the loss of its original SpaceShipTwo in October 2014 - an accident that not only claimed the life of a pilot, but also cast doubt on whether the company's lofty goal of launching tourists into space would ever happen at all.

More recently however things have been looking up, with the unveiling of the VSS Unity in 2016 and now - five years on - a second space plane that has been dubbed VSS Imagine.

It is the first of the company's new 'Space Ship III' line of vehicles that will ultimately carry passengers and experiments into suborbital space.

"As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at but represents Virgin Galactic's growing fleet of spaceships," said Branson.
"All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea. Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet."

As things stand, it's unclear when the first actual space tourism flight will take place, however VSS Unity is currently preparing for its next suborbital test mission in May.

"VSS Imagine and Inspire are stunning ships that will take our future astronauts on an incredible voyage to space, and their names reflect the aspirational nature of human spaceflight," said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier.

"Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone."

Source: | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hammerclaw 3 years ago
The company is well named, since they've yet to achieve orbit. Looks like their schtick is suborbital tourism and that's it.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 3 years ago
Virgin Galactic aren't attempting to reach orbit, it is a suborbital vehicle. There aim is to exceed 50 miles in altitude (the US definition of space) which VSS Unity achieved in December 2018 and February 2019. Virgin split its orbital activities off into a separate company, Virgin Orbit They succeded in placing a satellite in orbit in January this year.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hammerclaw 3 years ago
Isn't that what I said?  Virgin Orbit is another company. Call me when V.G. reaches 100 kilometers.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
Sleek looking craft !
Comment icon #5 Posted by M 7 3 years ago
Possibly I’m misremembering this or recalling a report that was speculative but what you’re saying does fit in with it. My understanding is that the vehicle is primarily being developed as a means of revolutionising long haul flights, the space tourism aspect would essentially be a short term means of quickly recouping some of the huge development costs, generating a return on their investment  whilst they endeavour to make it commercially viable for the masses. Obviously their would be a huge demand on flights to the edge of space by those that could afford it but the novelty would we... [More]

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