In the video, Richard Branson speaks of commercial flights in 18-24 months, an estimate he has given previously (including 14 months ago at the Oshkosh airshow).
_Aviation Week_ has an outline of Scaled Composites’ test program for SpaceShipTwo, which includes powered flights early next year:
> The flight marks the start of the third phase in a seven-phase test program that is expected to culminate with the start of space tourism and science flights in 2012…Unpowered glide testing, which follows four captive-carriage flights to simulate SS2 approaches, will be used to refine the vehicle’s aerodynamics and low-speed handling qualities. For the Oct. 10 flight, Scaled Composites had a cover over the nozzle of the Sierra Nevada RM2 hybrid rocket, and tufts below the duct to visualize the local flow field around the composite-skin nozzle section.
(…) Read the rest of [SpaceShipTwo Test Program: Two Phases Down, Five to Go] (114 words)
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