Virgin Galactic Reveals New Spaceship
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic revealed a new spaceship on Friday at the Mojave Air & Space Port in California. It is a replacement for the one that crashed and killed a test pilot in 2014.
Virgin Galactic Unveils New Spaceship
Physicist Stephen Hawking named the new space model Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity in a recorded speech and on Twitter.
“I would be very proud to fly on this spaceship,” Hawking said.
“We are entering a new space age, and I hope this will help to create a new unity,” Hawking added.
Prof. Hawking names the new #SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity. “We are entering a new space age, and I hope this will help to create a new unity.”
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) February 19, 2016
Branson said the new spaceship means space can be made accessible in a way that has only been dreamed about before.
“Our beautiful new spaceship, VSS Unity, is the embodiment of that goal and also a great testament to what can be achieved when true teamwork, great skill and deep pride are combined with a common purpose,” Branson remarked in a press release.
On Thursday, the company said that because of the crash, the new spaceship will not “blast off and head straight to space” anytime soon. It will go through a testing period.
If the ship passes the tests, Virgin Galactic plans to use it to ferry passengers up 50 miles above Earth’s surface.
More than 700 people have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic — even though the company requires $250,000 up front for a seat.
Now that the new spaceship is closer to flying, civilian space travel for the non-millionaire crowd is also a possibility.
“It’s a significant moment I think in aviation history,” said pilot Dave Mackay. “This is the vehicle that is going to take many hundreds of regular people into space for the first time.”