Virgin should make suborbital flight by the end of 2017

Virgin Galactic Vice President Mike Moses told a commercial space conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico, that much progress has been made on flight tests and that supersonic speed is expected soon. The company hopes to be in space by the end of the year, he said.

Billionaire Richard Branson has said that he will be disappointed if he is not reaching space in the next six months.

Virgin Galactic is in the process of test flights now.

5 thoughts on “Virgin should make suborbital flight by the end of 2017”

  1. I liked the concept when first rolled out, but now it has that “pîssing into a gale” sort of feel. Look at the lil guppy hanging under the momma whale. Its absolutely NO different than it was 5 years ago. Zip. And just now they’re hoping to finally get merely supersonic? Seriously?

    OK. it is a step. But at the rate they’re going, we’ll be on BFR Version 3 and Blue Cosmos d’Bezos is going to be flying a fifth version of private GPS satellites too.

    AND just as seriously, what’s the PURPOSE of the thing? I know as a proof of concept, it is a grand idea. It is. But if it doesn’t have an evolutionary path to Mach 20 hypersonic, out-of-atmosphere flight AND safe return, then it flies without a purposeful future.

    Just saying

    • Isn’t the purpose recreation/tourism? Lots of money in that sector.

      Though if I would design a system for short (100km) suborbital hops, I think I’d just buy a Merlin engine from SpaceX and put a passenger compartment on top.

      • I like it.
        10 acres should do it. Invent ‘App’ to coordinate “Backyard Launch Pads” at ranges of 500-1000 miles. With the right kind of screening, pick a week to exchange location, vehicles & home.

    • At this point it seems more like sunk cost fallacy than anything else.

      “Branson does sound chastened by the accidents and setbacks. “I felt the company would be unlikely to survive another accident,” he writes of his feelings after the 2014 crash. “If I hadn’t owned the company, I think the program would have been knocked on the head some years ago. On the day we started, if I had known it was going to take twelve years I suspect I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the project either—we simply couldn’t afford it.”

      He adds, though, he’s not giving up on Virgin Galactic now, regardless of the business case. “It’s never been just a business to me,” he says. While commercial human spaceflight can be profitable, that’s not the main point for him. “I believe that putting our faith in space travel serves, quite literally, a higher purpose.”

    • I’m with you. I mean, the Concorde first flew 48 years ago, and was capable of mach 2. Hobbyists could build supersonic aircraft today, if it weren’t for the regulatory obstacles. Why would anybody be building a winged first stage that wasn’t significantly supersonic?

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