Virgin Galactic’s subsequent flight to suborbital house will not happen within the coming days in any case.
The corporate will reschedule the third crewed check flight of its VSS Unity house aircraft, which had been focused to take off from New Mexico’s Spaceport America between Nov. 19 and Nov. 23, on account of the surge of COVID-19 infections sweeping throughout the state, the nation and far of the world.
“With the well being and security of our group members in thoughts, and in accordance with the current course from the New Mexico Division of Well being, we can be minimizing our New Mexico operations to the best diploma potential,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier stated in a press release on Monday (Nov. 16).
“Whereas these new restrictions trigger us to regulate our flight schedule, we take this pause in stride and can be ready to renew our preflight procedures and announce a brand new check flight window as quickly as we are able to,” Colglazier stated.
VSS Unity is Virgin Galactic’s newest SpaceShipTwo car, a six-passenger, two-pilot craft designed to make temporary jaunts to suborbital house. SpaceShipTwo takes off from a runway beneath the wing of a provider aircraft known as WhiteKnightTwo. At an altitude of about 50,000 toes (15,000 meters), SpaceShipTwo drops free and makes its personal technique to suborbital house.
Unity has reached house twice thus far, on check flights in December 2018 and February 2019. Each of these missions lifted off from Mojave Air and House Port in southeastern California, close to the headquarters of The Spaceship Firm, Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing subsidiary.
The upcoming third spaceflight would be the first one Unity makes from Spaceport America, the hub of the corporate’s business operations. It will likely be the primary human spaceflight ever carried out from New Mexico, Colglazier stated in an replace earlier this month.
About 600 individuals have purchased a ticket to trip SpaceShipTwo, at a worth (most lately) of $250,000 per seat, Virgin Galactic representatives have stated. The corporate paused ticket gross sales some time again however plans to reopen them subsequent yr, after Virgin Group founder Richard Branson flies aboard VSS Unity. (Branson has lengthy stated he desires to be on one among SpaceShipTwo’s early spaceflights.)
The Spaceship Firm is at present constructing two extra SpaceShipTwo autos, and one among them is anticipated to roll out of the manufacturing unit in early 2021, Virgin Galactic representatives have stated. And extra might come off the road within the comparatively close to future; the corporate’s hangar at Spaceport America can maintain as much as 5 SpaceShipTwos and two WhiteKnightTwos concurrently.
Virgin Galactic can also be filling out its pilot corps. The corporate lately employed Jameel Janjua and Pat Moran, bringing the full variety of Virgin Galactic pilots to eight.
Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide concerning the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.