Branson: WhiteKnightTwo flights to begin next month

Test flights of Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, which had been delayed from September until late this year, may begin in November. Richard Branson commented on the status of WK2, as well as SpaceShipTwo itself, in an interview with this week:

How’s your spaceship, Virgin Galactic, coming?

The mothership is finished and will be flying next month. The spaceships themselves are being built. The first ship will start test flights in 12 months. Hopefully within 18 months to two years we’ll take up our astronauts.

What will a flight be like? Just up and down?

Our first flights will be about a three-hour flight from liftoff going into space. People will go up to 60,000 feet attached under the mothership. The spaceship will drop away. Passengers will then unbuckle their seatbelts and float around, look out the windows and check out the earth.

3 comments to Branson: WhiteKnightTwo flights to begin next month

  • victor cervantes

    I wonder which altitude could reach WK2 without cargo, taking into account that it can reach about 55,ooo feet -it seems that maybe more- carrying SS2 that weights several tonnes -evidently more than the 4 tonnes of SS1-.
    We will have to wait for a few months before seeing it.

  • Well, I wonder when test flights of SS2 will begin. And if I could stow away for a ride.

    The Space Buff

  • Jeff Foust

    Victor: good question, although it’s possible that even without cargo the plane’s operational ceiling may not be that much higher, depending on the performance of its jet engines.

    Space Buff: Branson said in the interview that the first “ship” (presumably first SS2 vehicle) will begin test flights in 12 months. As for stowing away, get in line – behind me. :)

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