MOJAVE DESERT (CBSLA.com) — Sir Richard Branson will unveil a new Virgin Galactic spaceship Friday that is designed for space tourism.
Later today, the billionaire businessman will reveal SpaceShipTwo at the Mojave Airport.
“This will be a ground-based celebration,” Virgin Galactic officials said in a written statement. “Our new vehicle will remain on the ground for a while after her unveiling, as we run her through full-vehicle tests of her electrical systems and all of her moving parts. We already know these things work individually, but one can’t simply assume they will all work together — that must be tested and verified.”
The commercial spaceline announced information about testing on Twitter.
“We’ll begin first with captive carry flight, during which SpaceShipTwo stays firmly mated to her mothership, WhiteKnightTwo,” Virgin Galactic officials added. “Once that is completed, we’ll move to glide testing, where our new spaceship flies freely for the first time as a glider coming home from an altitude of more than 45,000 feet while our incredible pilots test out her handling.”
The new ship is designed to take six passengers to space at a time, flying more than 60 miles above Earth.
Hundreds of people have already put down deposits of $250,000 for the trip.
SpaceShipTwo was designed after an earlier model crashed during a test flight in 2014.