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Virgin Galactic unveiled its first Spaceship III in its growing fleet, VSS Imagine, ahead of VSS Unity’s next test flight, which is planned for May 2021. Showcasing Virgin Galactic’s innovation in design and astronaut experience, VSS Imagine will commence ground testing, with glide flights this summer.
With a vision for the future of space flight and to scale the business for the long-term, Virgin Galactic has demonstrated progress toward efficient design and production with this new spaceship. Its breakthrough livery design allows Imagine to mirror the surrounding environment, constantly changing color and appearance, as it moves from Earth to Space. Not only is this dynamic material appealing to the human eye, but it also provides thermal protection
“We unveiled our SpaceShip III class of vehicles, marking the beginning of the Virgin Galactic fleet. VSS Imagine and Inspire are stunning ships that will take our future astronauts on an incredible voyage to space, and their names reflect the aspirational nature of human spaceflight. Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic
This class of vehicles was specifically built to enable improved performance in terms of maintenance access and flight rate and will lay the foundation for the design and manufacture of future vehicles. The introduction of the Spaceship III class of vehicles is an important milestone in Virgin Galactic’s multi-year effort that targets flying 400 flights per year, per spaceport.
“Virgin Galactic spaceships are built specifically to deliver a new, transforming perspective to the thousands of people who will soon be able to experience the wonder of space for themselves. As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at, but represents Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of spaceships. All great achievements, creations, and changes start with an idea,” said Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin.
As VSS Imagine begins ground testing, manufacturing will progress on VSS Inspire, the second SpaceShip III vehicle within the Virgin Galactic fleet.
“Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet,” said Branson.