In a story on Saturday, Allison Gatlin of the Antelope Valley Press quotes Scaled Composites Executive Vice President Kevin Mickey as saying that powered flights of SpaceShipTwo will begin next year. Virgin Galactic officials have said they hoped to begin powered flights by the end of this year.
The powered flights will be preceded by un-powered glide tests of SpaceShipTwo that will begin later this year. These will be the first flights of the eight-person space plane after it has been fully fitted with its hybrid propulsion system.
Next year should be a busy one at the Mojave Air and Space Port where SpaceShipTwo is being tested. XCOR is set to make the first powered flights of its two-person Lynx space plane during the first quarter of 2013.