Credit: Virgin Galactic

Credit: Virgin Galactic

 

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic team in Mojave, California is reporting progress in building the second SpaceShipTwo.

It has been over six months since the tragic mishap involving the first SpaceShipTwo – VSS Enterprise – took the life of pilot Michael Alsbury as the craft broke apart during its 55th test flight on October 31, 2014.

Virgin Galactic reports that the new vehicle — not yet been formally named — is coming along “at a steady pace, thanks to the efforts of the women and men in our manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company.”

Second SpaceShipTwo taking shape. Credit: Virgin Galactic

Second SpaceShipTwo taking shape.
Credit: Virgin Galactic

Work is underway on the second craft in three shifts, spanning days, nights, and weekends, the company reports.

In recent weeks, workers have completed the final cure cycle of the main cabin, closed out the main portions of the wings, and completed other key steps in the build plan.

Test plan

A milestone has been recently met: taking the new spaceship off of the construction fixtures and placing the craft on its own landing gear.

The spaceship will remain in the hangar for some time after that, occasionally moving back onto and back off the fixture as workers continue to install new items and testing and verifying every piece of the craft.

On its wheels for the first time - second SpaceShipTwo. Credit: Virgin Galactic

On its wheels for the first time – second SpaceShipTwo.
Credit: Virgin Galactic

“Our hope is that the second SpaceShipTwo will enter into testing later this year,” Virgin Galactic’s website adds, “beginning with ground testing, then progressing through captive carry flights, glide flights, and eventually powered flights to progressively higher speeds and altitudes.”

For a video look at aspects of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo program and pursuing public space travel, go to:

Virgin Galactic – Introducing our Spaceship Propulsion Team at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euCsIwAoElI#t=11

Virgin Galactic Space Tourism – an informative documentary by Science & Technology 4U, published on Dec 29, 2014 at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4l_TBxlgkc#t=64

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