Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo is to stick to initial schedule, the company unveiled the new model in a glitzy ceremony Friday in the port of air and space Mojave. The company emphasized the spacecraft is already suffering an elaborate series of tests of components in the name of security.
"Our commitment to safety can be measured in the commitment of the evidence," Virgin Galactic executive Mike Moses told the Los Angeles Times. "We tested many elements of the spacecraft, and we will examine thousands more." When ready, the spacecraft will be test flights, while remaining attached to the mothership WhiteKnightTwo before moving to the delta and motorized flights, the Times reported.
The second SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unit baptized on Friday, replacing the loss of a break in 2014, which co-pilot Michael Alsbury killed and seriously injured pilot Peter Siebold. While similar to the first spacecraft, the new features of the updated version systems according to the company were already in the works.
The second model was 65 percent completed when the first accident occurred SpaceShipTwo, according to a report from Engadget. Changes in the pitch change mechanism to prevent premature deployment - what caused the break - were made after the accident.
WhiteKnightTwo attached to SpaceShipTwo
SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry six passengers, as well as two pilots, on brief sojourns to suborbital space. During operational flights — which will take off from Spaceport America in New Mexico — the space plane will be carried to an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters) by an airplane called WhiteKnightTwo, and then dropped.
At that point, SpaceShipTwo's onboard rocket motor will fire up, blasting the vehicle up to a minimum of 62 miles (100 km) above Earth's surface — the traditionally accepted boundary where outer space begins.
This new model is also the first car built entirely in-house by a subsidiary of Virgin Galactic spacecraft company. The company is owned in part by Scaled Composites, builder of the original SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic until acquired full ownership in 2012.