Virgin Galactic is approaching its first commercial aircraft, and in preparation for it, it has unveiled its new spaceship capable of suborbital aircraft. The first spaceship III is called the VSS Imagine and it is currently being tested with the first aircraft arriving this summer. The new car is designed to be more efficient production than its predecessor VSS Unity, whose next test flight is scheduled for May 2021.
The design improves maintenance access, which is to increasing the rate of flight with the same vehicle. The second spaceship the third is currently under construction and will be called VSS Inspire. Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said in a statement, “Launching the Virgin Galactic fleet today, we unveiled our third-class spaceship. VSS Imagination and Inspiration is a great ship that takes our future astronauts on an incredible journey into space, and their names reflect the aspiring nature of human spaceflight. Congratulations to our dedicated team who have worked so hard to achieve this milestone.”
VSS Imagine certainly has a bright future ahead. Its mirror-like exterior, which provides extra heat protection, is extremely great. With the launch of third generation spaceships, Virgin Galactic is one step further in its future goal: each of its spaceships has 400 flights a year. VSS Imagine and VSS Unity will fly from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
Effectively, Spaceship III is the equivalent of VSS Unity’s dubbed company SpaceShipTwo. But the spaceship III is designed in a “modular fashion” that will enable faster switching times for re-aircraft, Colglazier said. It’s designed in such a way that with a spaceship we can pull the panel to go to an area that we probably couldn’t go in a simple fashion.” The first glide test of the VSS Imagine – landing mid-air from its carrier aircraft back to land – has been facilitated by Spaceport America Company in New Mexico for this summer.
The design tweets that give Spaceship III the edge of restructuring faster than the SpaceShipTwo marks the transition to Virgin Galactic by focusing on production-intensive activities, as the company prepares for its debut customer flight in early 2022. The vehicle weighs slightly less than the spaceship.
“What we learned in Unity, usually through flight tests, was embedded in this spaceship third class,” Colglazier said. The next test flight of the spacecraft company will come sometime in May. That test was delayed a few months after the plane was canceled in mid-December, just as the ship’s engines flashed after it left mid-air from its mothership, VMS Eve. Company officials made an earnings call last month saying the abortion was stopped due to electromagnetic interference that could restart a flight computer.