Virgin Galactic Just Successfully Tested One of Their Spaceplanes

Hopeful space tourists have reason to smile today. This morning, the Spaceship Company, a spacecraft manufacturer owned by Virgin Galactic, successfully flight tested a Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo (SS2 or SpaceShipTwo), a spaceplane designed specifically with space tourism in mind.

Virgin Galactic announced the VSS Unity’s seventh test flight via Twitter early this morning.

Our team is prepping for a #SpaceShipTwo flight test today

— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) January 11, 2018

They followed that up with a few updates, as well as an image of the successful landing.

Smooth landing for #SpaceShipTwo pic.twitter.com/oJ9ocRX91R

— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) January 11, 2018

The SpaceShipTwo was publicly unveiled in 2009 and has since been in development and testing. Each of the air-launched, suborbital planes can carry a total of six passengers and two pilots, and Virgin Galactic hopes to have a fleet of five for their private passenger service.

While this SpaceShipTwo test flight puts Virgin Galactic one step closer to their lofty goal of creating the world’s first commercial spaceline, they aren’t there yet. The SpaceShipTwo will require more testing, and even once Virgin Galactic is happy with the craft’s performance, space tourism is uncharted territory that will likely require significant regulatory review.

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