Virgin entering phase of “final confirmation firings” before first powered SpaceShipTwo flight

SpaceShipTwo, the suborbital vehicle under development by Virgin Galactic and its partner Scaled Composites, has been on the verge of beginning powered flights for a few months now, after performing a glide flight in a “powered flight configuration” in December. There’s been little news from Virgin since then, until a blog post today by Sir Richard Branson himself about a first-of-its-kind nighttime test of SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motor. Much of the blog post is a description of the February 28th test written by Matt Stinemetze, the Scaled program manager for SS2. The key item from the post is at the end, where Stinemetze writes that this test was the “first in a rapid series of final confirmation firings leading up to SpaceShipTwo’s first rocket powered flight.”

The test doesn’t yet appear on the RocketMotorTwo flight test log maintained by Scaled, where the last test is from Janaury 24. The description also doesn’t mention the length of the burn or other details, other than it appeared to be a success. The fact that the test merited a blog post, though, and by Branson himself, suggests a growing level of confidence that this first SS2 powered flight will finally be coming soon.

3 comments to Virgin entering phase of “final confirmation firings” before first powered SpaceShipTwo flight

  • Why haven’t VG released any video of their rocket engine being test fired or test flights recently?

    They were usually quite quick to do so in the past.

  • I’m sure Richard Branson’s latest words of wisdom on his site were purely a coincidence with my recent comment on this site.

    I find them very interesting, I totally agree rocket science isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t scifi!

    I believe Richard Branson who has invested his heart and sole into Virgin Galactic speaks from the heart in his blog.

    Space (suborbital and orbital) is sure going to get busy soon!

    As avid space nuts we just want to know more!

  • […] provide any additional information about the test, including even when exactly it took place. Last week Virgin announced the first test in this series, which took place February 28, via a blog post by Sir Richard Branson. That test, although not the […]

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