NBC and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson on Friday announced an agreement to track the development of the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane on television — climaxing in a flight that will put Branson and his children into outer space.
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