in Space

Virgin Galactic completes Weight on Wheels milestone

Posted 8 January 2020 · Add Comment

Virgin Galactic announced today that it has completed a major milestone in the build of its next spaceship.

In a moment comparable to a ship taking to the water for the first time, the latest spaceship is now bearing its own weight in a stage of its assembly termed Weight on Wheels. At this critical juncture, 80% of the vehicle’s major structural assembly is complete.


© Virgin Galactic 2020 
 
This Weight on Wheels milestone has been reached considerably faster than it took to get to this stage with our first SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, which is currently in flight-test. This has been achieved through experience curve benefits which include an evolution to a more modular-based assembly process.
 
With the spaceship now bearing its own weight, the teams are starting work connecting the modules’ integrated systems, including the flight control systems from fuselage to tail booms.
 
A secondary benefit of Weight on Wheels, is the mobility it affords the spaceship, allowing better access and greater efficiencies for the engineers as they complete the build. The teams will also now be able to check and confirm the vehicle’s weight.
 
As this work completes, the spaceship will be positioned in the hangar for the start of integrated vehicle ground testing which verifies the integrity of all its systems. This is a precursor to moving the spaceship from Mojave to Spaceport America in New Mexico where it will start its flight test program.
 
The Virgin Galactic spaceship fleet is beginning to take shape with a third spaceship, also under construction in Mojave, currently around 50% structurally complete. In the coming months, that vehicle will achieve its next major milestone, with completion of its wing and tail boom structure. Virgin Galactic plans to build 5 spaceships in total and a second mothership to meet the demand for human space flight beyond the 600 Future Astronauts from 60 countries, who have already purchased tickets to fly.
 
George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic said: "Reaching the Weight on Wheels milestone, considerably faster than it was achieved for VSS Unity, is a huge accomplishment and is testament to the growing expertise of the teams and the unique capabilities of our company. We now have two spaceships which are structurally complete with a third not too far behind. These spaceships will very soon be completing regular trips to space and back, providing thousands of private astronauts with a truly transformative experience."


 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

BA accesses UK COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme

As a result of the significant decline n flying, British Airways is making use of the UKís COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme to help UK-based employees placed on furlough.

BepiColombo to fly-by Earth

The Airbus built BepiColombo mission will make a fly-by past Earth on 10th April 2020 as it continues on its epic journey to Mercury.

JFD unveils InVicto ventilator system to help combat COVID-19

JFD - a pecialist in breathing apparatus, life support equipment and hyperbaric medical equipment to support life-critical applications - today announced that it will bring to market a new patient ventilator system to support global

Aircraft lease rates and values forecast to fall

Downgrades are expected to the credit ratings of airlinesí aircraft asset-backed securities (ABS) as they struggle to meet the challenges of COVID-19, according to a new report by aviation consultants IBA and Split Rock Aviation.

IATA sees passenger demand plunge due to COVID-19 restrictions

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for February 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) fell 14.1% compared to February 2019.

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Unite fly in medical supplies for NHS

Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Virgin Groupís not-for-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, to fly a special charter flight from Shanghai to London, bringing in essential medical supplies and PPE equipment for the National Health

IQPC SK0403300420
See us at
DVD 20203CDSE BT2702150720SMI favws BT0602040620