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Virgin Galactic's Second Spaceship Passes Major Milestone, Third Spaceship Underway.

Virgin Galactic's second commercial spaceship just passed an important milestone, and a third one is already halfway into construction. 

The company is well on its way to fulfilling the goal of achieving spaceflight for private people.

'Weight On Wheels' Milestone

In a statement, Virgin Galactic announced that its second spaceship just passed a major milestone. The "Weight on Wheels" achievement means that the spaceship, with all its major structural elements, was able to carry its own weight for the first time, something that took quite a while for the company's first spaceship, the Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Unity, quite some time to achieve.

"Reaching the Weight on Wheels milestone considerably faster than was achieved for VSS Unity is a huge accomplishment and is a testament to the growing expertise and capabilities of the company," Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides (https://www.virgingalactic.com/articles/second-spaceship-in-virgin-galactics-fleet-completes-major-build-milestone/) said . "We now have two spaceships that are structurally complete, with our third making good progress. These spaceships are destined to provide thousands of private astronauts with a truly transformative experience by performing regular trips to space," he went on.

The next step for the second spaceship is the integrated vehicle ground testing, which will verify the integrity of all systems. Virgin Galactic has yet to set a specific date for the beginning of its (https://www.ibtimes.com/virgin-galactic-unveils-commercial-space-suits-2847673?utm_source=feeds_ibt&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=msn) commercial operations , but it anticipates to start sometime in 2020.

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Fleet

The Weight on Wheels milestone is not that far behind VSS Unity, which has already been to space twice during flight tests. And if these achievements are not yet impressive enough, Virgin Galactic is already working on its third spaceship. In fact, the structural and system fabrication of the third vehicle is already 50 percent complete.

According to Enrico Palermo, president of the Virgin Galactic Holdings-owned aerospace development subsidiary, The Spaceship Company, their business plan involves building five spaceships by the end of 2023.

So far, over 600 customers from all over the world, including actor Ashton Kutcher, have signed up to fly aboard Virgin Galactic spaceships. The spaceflight systems are designed to offer unique experiences such as several minutes of weightlessness and spectacular views of the Earth from space.

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Article Details
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Author:Athena Chan
Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jan 9, 2020
Words:386
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