Sat, 20 February 2016

Virgin Galactic Unveils VSS Unity

Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by the Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS, unveiled its newly completed SpaceShipTwo on Friday.

The new vehicle has been named Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity by Professor Stephen Hawking.

 With VSS Unity now fully manufactured and unveiled, The Spaceship Company will undertake integrated systems verification, followed by ground and flight tests in Mojave. Ground and air exercises will take place at its future home in Spaceport America, New Mexico.

Based on the smaller 2004 X-PRIZE winning SpaceShipOne designed by Burt Rutan, VSS Unity is designed to take a crew of two pilots and up to six passengers to space.

 Virgin Galactic’s space flight experience features an air launch followed by a rocket-powered ascent at three and a half times the speed of sound, the silence of space, several minutes of out-of-seat weightlessness and multiple windowed views of our home planet.

Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceline fleet now consists of the spaceship VSS Unity and two dedicated carrier aircraft—the WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve for human spaceflight, and the 747-400 Cosmic Girl for the LauncherOne small satellite launch service.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said, “Together, we can make space accessible in a way that has only been dreamt of before now, and by doing so can bring positive change to life on Earth. Our beautiful new spaceship, VSS Unity, is the embodiment of that goal and will provide us with an unprecedented body of experience which will in turn lay the foundations for Virgin Galactic’s future. Her creation is also great testament to what can be achieved when true teamwork, great skill and deep pride are combined with a common purpose.”

The Spaceship Company President, Doug Shane said, “Building a talented team for our assembly facility in Mojave is perhaps what I take the most pride in. As we developed and manufactured SpaceShipTwo, we also developed the end-to-end capability for vehicle design through delivery for this and future aerospace projects. We look forward to fulfilling our aim as The Spaceship Company with vehicles of the future for Virgin Galactic and the rest of the industry.” 

See other recent news regarding: Virgin Galactic, Virgin, Space, Space Travel

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