If all the flight tests proceed according to plan, that inaugural passenger spaceflight could take off from New Mexico's Spaceport America during a special edition of NBC's TODAY show next August, 2014.
"They are hoping for August, but it's completely engineering-driven," Scott told NBC News in advance of Friday's announcement on TODAY. "There's no guarantee for that. August is the desire."
NBC News' Peacock Productions will chronicle the SpaceShipTwo project across a wide spectrum of NBCUniversal brands and platforms, including NBCNews.com, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Syfy, The Weather Channel and more. NBC is set to air a prime-time special on the night before Branson's launch — followed by a three-hour live event on TODAY, hosted by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.
SpaceShipTwo has been flown through more than two dozen glide flights — plus two rocket-powered test outings, in April and September. Another powered test is expected within a month. SpaceShipTwo's test pilots plan to start crossing the 100-kilometer-high (62-mile-high) boundary of outer space "by early next year," Branson said on TODAY
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