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SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic

SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise (October 2010). Credit: Mark Greenberg

PLATFORM

SpaceShipTwo (SS2) uses all the same basic technology, carbon composite construction and design as SpaceShipOne (SS1). However it is around twice as large as that vehicle and will carry six passengers and two pilots. It is 18.3 m (60 ft) long with a 2.28 m (90") diameter cabin which is similar in size to a Falcon 900 executive jet albeit with no floor dissecting the cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.

FLIGHT PROFILE

SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude of approximately 15 km (approx. 45,000 ft) by the purpose-built carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo (WK2). This climb up to altitude takes around an hour. SpaceShipTwo is subsequently air-launched from the carrier and fires its rocket motor, executing a turn for a steep climb which lasts ~70 seconds before the motor shuts down. SpaceShipTwo then follows a typical ballistic arc and deploys its 'feathered' configuration for re-entry. Following ~70 seconds of re-entry and descent into the atmosphere, SS2 de-feathers and glides to a horizontal landing at its launch base.

PAYLOAD CONFIGURATION

SpaceShipTwo will have a baseline seat for tourism operations and baseline rack for individual (direct passenger replacement) payloads. Different payloads and racks can be accomodated and both the system and operations are flexible in both payload and mission profile. Experiments can also be mounted in unpressurized bays of SpaceShipTwo for research requiring direct access to the space environment, e.g. atmospheric sampling or exposure to the external spaceflight environment.

For more information about the SpaceShipTwo platform, please contact Virgin Galactic.

2014 (Expected)

COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: NASA is reviewing its policy on human-tended payloads and will provide an update to this website in the future.

SpaceShipTwo

KEY SPECIFICATIONS

HTHL / Piloted

TYPE

6 passengers / 2 pilots

PASSENGERS

110 km

MAXIMUM ALTITUDE

~90 minutes

TYPICAL FLIGHT DURATION

3-5 minutes

TYPICAL DURATION OF MICROGRAVITY

tbd

MICROGRAVITY LEVEL

~500 kg

USEFUL PAYLOAD MASS

tbd

POINTING ACCURACY

tbd

POWER

tbd

DATA STORAGE PROVIDED

Spaceport America, NM

INITIAL SPACEPORT

Access to external environment

Telemetry

Reduced gravity capability

Middeck locker compatible

Windowed access to the outside



Payload Users Guide »

MORE INFORMATION

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