SpaceShipTwo, Serial Number Two

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SpaceShipTwo Serial Number Two
Type Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo
Manufacturer The Spaceship Company
Construction number 2 [1]
Registration N202VG [2]
First flight Under construction
Owners and operators Virgin Galactic
In service 2016 (planned) [3]

SpaceShipTwo Serial Number Two[4] (Tail number: N202VG[2]), previously known as VSS Voyager, is a SpaceShipTwo-class suborbital rocket-powered manned spaceplane. It is the second SpaceShipTwo to be built, and will be used as part of the Virgin Galactic Fleet.

Overview[edit]

A schematic diagram of SpaceShipTwo.

The Spaceship Company is building the second SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane for Virgin Galactic.[5] The craft has yet to be formally named,[5][6] and is commonly referred to as SpaceShipTwo, Serial Number Two.[7][8] There was speculation in 2004 that SpaceShipTwo Serial Number Two would be named VSS Voyager,[9] and this unofficial name has been repeatedly used in media coverage of the ship.[10][11][12]

A US Trademark application in October, 2015 suggests the name to be VSS Unity. [13]

Virgin Galactic expects Serial Number Two to be ready for airborne testing in early 2016.[3]

History[edit]

The manufacture of Serial Number Two began in 2012.[2] The spacecraft's registration, N202VG, was filed in September 2014.[14] As of early November 2014, the build of Serial Number Two was about 90 percent structurally complete, and 65 percent complete overall. As of April 2015, Serial Number Two was approximately 75% complete,[15] and initial ground tests could commence on this craft by the end of 2015.[16] On 21 May 2015, Serial Number Two reached the milestone of bearing the weight of the airframe on its own wheels.[17] It was thought that testing could have begun as early as the summer of 2015.[1][18][19] However, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has since stated that Serial Number Two would be publicly unveiled in February 2016, with flight testing to begin shortly thereafter.[3] This SS2 is scheduled to be unveiled on 19 February 2016.[20]

Serial Number Two will be the second SpaceShipTwo to be completed; the first, VSS Enterprise, was destroyed in a crash in late October 2014.[5][11]

Test flight program[edit]

Serial Number Two will undergo a test regimen similar to VSS Enterprise, then will embark on testing beyond what Enterprise experienced. The test flights are expected to be fewer, as Enterprise has already tested the design's responses under numerous conditions. Testing will start with captive carry, progress to free-flight glide testing, then continue with powered test flights. It is possible that only 2-3 flights under each regime previously tested will be performed, instead of the 5 or 10 that Enterprise performed.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Luke Villapaz (5 November 2014). "Virgin Galactic Hopes To Restart SpaceShipTwo Tests In Summer 2015". International Business Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Irene Klotz (5 November 2014). "New spaceship restoring hope after Virgin Galactic crash". Reuters (SpaceDaily). 
  3. ^ a b c Plautz, Jessica; Kramer, Miriam (2015-11-02). "Richard Branson: Virgin Galactic's next space plane is coming in February". Mashable. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  4. ^ One small step for space tourism... Private spaceflight. 373. The Economist. 18 December 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  5. ^ a b c "Mojave Update: SpaceShipTwo Construction". virgingalactic.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Mike Wall (5 May 2015). "Virgin Galactic's Next SpaceShipTwo Spaceliner Is Taking Shape (Photo)". Space.com. 
  7. ^ Rosenberg, Zach. "The Making of SpaceShipTwo". Air & Space Smithsonian. Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Crane, Rachel. "Inside Virgin Galactic's newest passenger spaceship". Inside Virgin Galactic's Space Tourism Rocket Factory. CNN. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "One small step for space tourism...". The Economist. 16 December 2004. 
  10. ^ Roll, Erin (2013-11-21). "Glen Ridge resident helping to launch commercial spaceflight". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved 2015-11-09. 
  11. ^ a b Dean, Lewis (2014-10-31). "Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash: Pilot Dies After 'Serious' In-Flight Problem". International Business Times. Retrieved 2015-11-09. 
  12. ^ Harlow, John (2014-11-09). "Virgin: Our spaceship will be flying by April". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2015-11-09. 
  13. ^ "VSS Unity Trademark Application". Justia.com. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  14. ^ "N202VG is Reserved". FAA. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-05. 
  15. ^ Jonathan O'Callaghan (21 April 2015). "Virgin Galactic will fly again: Company prepares to test new spacecraft after fatal 2014 crash". Daily Main (London). 
  16. ^ "Virgin Galactic 'to test new craft by end of year'". The Telegraph (London). 21 April 2015. 
  17. ^ Alan Boyle (22 May 2015). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo 2.0 Puts 'Weight on Wheels'". NBC News. 
  18. ^ "Virgin Galactic CEO Sees New Spacecraft Ready Next Year". Reuters (Newsweek). 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-02. 
  19. ^ Alan Boyle (5 November 2014). "The Next SpaceShipTwo Takes Shape in Virgin Galactic Hangar". NBC News. 
  20. ^ "Video - Virgin Galactic: second SpaceShipTwo to be rolled out on 19 February". aeronewstv.com. 14 January 2016. 
  21. ^ Jeff Foust (14 October 2015). "SpaceShipTwo Bounces Back to Rubber Fuel". SpaceNews.