SpaceShipTwo Drop Test Set for Tuesday

SpaceShipTwo glides toward a landing with its chase plane close behind at lower right. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
SpaceShipTwo glides toward a landing with its chase plane close behind at lower right. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Virgin Galactic plans to conduct the first glide test of the second SpaceShipTwo on Tuesday, Nov. 1. It will be the first flight of the spaceship and its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft since a captive carry test on Sept. 8.

The flight, which will take place from the Mojave Air and Space Port, will come two years and 1 day after the first SpaceShipTwo broke up during a powered test flight, killing Scaled Composites pilot Mike Alsbury and injuring pilot Pete Siebold.

Virgin Galactic pilot C.J. Sturckow confirmed the date of the flight test during an event on Saturday at the Explorers Club in New York City, according to SpaceNews reporter Jeff Foust.

Sturckow told attendees Virgin Galactic plans “‘spot check’ the glide flight envelope of SS2 and move into powered flight tests in early 2017,” according to a tweet posted by Foust.

  • JS Initials

    They are a long way from lighting the candle.

  • MachineAgeChronicle

    It’s incredible they still labor on. They are minimum 2 years from launching customers and ticket sales have stopped altogether. With only 700 paying passengers this show is bound to fail.

  • redneck

    It depends on the goals of the operation. If it is to generate publicity and provide advertising hooks for the Virgin brand, then actual spaceflight is just a by product.

  • Paul Thomas

    I think it will be a close race between Blue Origin and VG as to which first launches a crew to the Karmen line next year.

  • windbourne

    VG has it if they have a decent life support.
    Basically, they are way ahead of VG.

  • windbourne

    they are down to 700?

  • Hemingway

    Doug – test is in Mojave not Spaceport America?

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, for this part of the program all the tests are at Mojave. Only in the final stages will they move it to Spaceport America for final testing before carrying fares.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Sadly that is all it really is about now.

  • Kenneth_Brown

    Questions still remain to how high VG will be able to get with SS2v2. Especially with a full complement of people. Lots of changes have been made to the propulsion system to improve the performance and smoothness of the hybrid motor. Some of these changes have added additional mass to the craft.

  • Paul Thomas

    Yes that’s why I only state pilots. But equally we don’t know the performance of New Shephard fully loaded.