On the far side of the air travel spectrum, where oil isn’t an issue, flight attendants aren’t cranky and passengers aren’t grumbling about extra baggage fees, Virgin Galactic is hanging out alone in the space travel sector.
Earlier this year, VG announced plans for its new aircraft, the White Knight Two that is being built by their partner, Scaled Composites, along with the release of a variety of media and fanfare.
Now, production has moved far enough so that they’ve been able to pin down rollout and first flight dates for their space vehicle. Virgin hopes that their prototype is ready for operation by the end of July while first flight is slated for some time in September.
The group has yet to construct and reveal Spaceship Two, however, the center part of the dual-aircraft that will actually reach sub-orbit; they plan to have that out the door sometime next year. So don’t get your hopes up on commercial space flight too quickly. Both aircraft, the White Knight Two and Spacehip Two have to be thoroughly tested before the business gets off the ground.
Not that its stopping anyone from reserving their seat. Over 250 people have pledged up to $20,000 for their seats so far, giving the group $36M in the bank for development and company hot-tub parties. Let’s hope that the flight tests go well.