13 January 2014
Virgin Galactic, the commercial spaceline owned by Virgin Group and aabar Investments PJS, said it has completed the third rocket-powered supersonic flight of its passenger carrying reusable space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2).
In command on the flight deck of SS2 for the first time under rocket power was Virgin Galactic´s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay. Mackay, along with Scaled Composites´ (Scaled) Test Pilot Mark Stucky, tested the spaceship´s Reaction Control System (RCS) and the newly installed thermal protection coating on the vehicle´s tail booms. All of the test objectives were successfully completed.
Two important SS2 systems, the RCS and thermal protection coating, were tested during the flight in preparation for upcoming full space flights. The spaceship´s RCS will allow its pilots to maneuver the vehicle in space, permitting an optimal viewing experience for those on board and aiding the positioning process for spacecraft re-entry. The new reflective protection coating on SS2´s inner tail boom surfaces is being evaluated to help maintain vehicle skin temperatures while the rocket motor is firing.
SS2´s propulsion system has been developed by Sierra Nevada Corp and is the world´s largest operational hybrid rocket motor.
Virgin Galactic plans to be the world´s first commercial spaceline. To date, the company has accepted more than USD70m in deposits from approximately 580 individuals, which is approximately 10% more than the total number of people who have ever gone to space.
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, aabar Investments PJS invests in various sectors including infrastructure, aviation, real estate, automotive, commodities, energy and financial services..