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Virgin Galactic To Launch First Flight From Spaceport America This Month

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Virgin Galactic To Launch First Flight From Spaceport America This Month

Virgin Galactic has confirmed that the first spaceflight out of their new Spaceport America base in New Mexico will take place in just a matter of weeks.

They've been setting up and preparing for a while now, but they've officially confirmed that the SpaceShip Two test flight will take place between November 19 and November 23.

That's not far off, so they've obviously been preparing quickly.

The company snuck that little detail away in a financial statement about the third quarter of the year, and suggested that the SpaceShip Two spaceplane will carry revenue generating payloads as part of the NASA flight opportunities program on this specific mission.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Richard Branson's space exploration company also further underlined their desire to send up planetary scientist Dr Alan Stern on the trip so that he can perform some special experiments in sub-orbital space.

If you're wanting to get up into space on this particular mission, firstly you'll need to be absolutely wedged, but also act quickly, as the One Small Step programme that has been opened to allow qualified customers to jump the queue, ends on December 31.

Ticket sales for sub-orbital space flights will go back on sale in 2021, after - obviously - Richard Branson has taken his little jolly up into space.

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As of October 31, 900 participants had registered with the programme, so that queue is getting pretty long.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

As for that financial statement that we mentioned earlier, it's not exactly good reading for the company.

In the last quarter, Virgin Galactic reported a net loss of $77 million (£58.5m), which is significantly more than the $63 million (£49m) loss that was reported at the end of the previous quarter.

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It's an expensive business, running a space flight company. Hell, it's not like anyone else is doing particularly well during this wretched year, except billionaires like Branson. They're all fine.

This flight is significant because it is to be the first launch that has taken place out of Spaceport America.

However, the craft itself has flown twice before in the past.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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The pilots of SpaceShip Two were trained up on ground-based flight simulators and on a carrier aircraft called VMS Eve.

That's because that craft has a very similar set of controls to SpaceShip Two, so should give the men at the controls a good read as to what they can expect once they're up there.

There are also a number of pre-flight ground checks that have taken place ahead of the proposed launch.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, Interesting, US News, Technology, space

Tom Wood
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