Northrop Grumman (finally) reveals its XS-1 design

Northrop XS-1

An illustration of Northrop Grumman’s XS-1 concept. (credit: Northrop Grumman)

More than a month after DARPA formally announced the winners of Phase 1 contracts for its Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) program, the last of the three companies that received those contracts unveiled the design of the concept.

In a press release Tuesday, Northrop Grumman […]

Year in PReview: is 2014 finally the year suborbital space tourism lifts off?

SpaceShipTwo during its first powered test flight on April 29, 2013. (credit: Virgin Galactic/

One decade ago, hopes were high for suborbital space tourism. Scaled Composites had performed the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne in December of 2003, and other than a minor landing mishap, the company seemed to be on track for […]

SpaceShipTwo another step closer to powered flight

SpaceShipTwo completed a glide flight yesterday at the Mojave Air and Space Port, bringing the suborbital vehicle ever closer to its first powered test flight. Details about the flight have not shown up yet on the official test log, but it appears to have been a successful flight.

The glide flight was the first for […]

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 […]

SpaceShipTwo edges closer to powered flight

SpaceShipTwo during a glide test on December 19, its first in a “powered flight” configuration, with its engine installed. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

A long-awaited major milestone for a leading suborbital vehicle developer—the first powered flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo—is a little bit closer to taking place after a test flight Wednesday. Virgin Galactic reported […]

Virgin Galactic ramps up SpaceShipTwo testing

SpaceShipTwo during the feathered portion of a glide flight last week. (Clay Center Observatory/Virgin Galactic)

For some time, a long pause in glide tests of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo raised questions about the progress the company was making, in partnership with Scaled Composites, on development of suborbital spacecraft. After a January 13th glide test, the […]

SpaceShipOne details in Allen’s book

Paul Allen’s appearance on “Charlie Rose” this week wasn’t out of the blue: it was prompted by the release of his new memoir, Idea Man. The book covers the various interests in his life, and while much of the publicity about the book has centered on the passages about co-founding and working at Microsoft with […]

BBC gets a behind-the-scenes look at SpaceShipTwo

Screenshot of a video report by the BBC's Richard Scott showing the interior of SpaceShipTwo.

BBC reporter Richard Scott has a bit of an exclusive: a look behind the scenes of the development of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo as well as Spaceport America in New Mexico. The real exclusive is the first look inside SpaceShipTwo, […]

Third glide flight for SpaceShipTwo

SpaceShipTwo during its first glide test on October 10, 2010. (credit: Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

Scaled Composites carried out a third glide test flight of SpaceShipTwo (SS2) on Wednesday. According to the company’s WK2/SS2 flight test logs, SS2 flew free for 11 minutes and 39 seconds after its release from WhiteKnightTwo. There were no major […]

Flybys: commercial space conference, TSC factory groundbreaking, SpaceX rescheduling

Special Aerospace Services, a Colorado aerospace company, announced Monday they would host the first Commercial Human Spaceflight Technical Forum in Boulder this coming January. The one-and-a-half-day conference is designed to give attendees “insight to techniques that will be required to successfully achieve NASA human rating certification and FAA commercial spaceflight licensing”, according to the conference […]