Capability: SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude by a Scaled Composites White Knight Two, before being released to fly on into the upper atmosphere powered by its rocket engine. It then glides back to Earth and performs a conventional runway landing.
Maiden Flight: 2010-10-10
Flight Life: Short suborbital flights
Crew Capacity: 8
VSS Enterprise was the first SpaceShipTwo (SS2) spaceplane, built by Scaled Composites for Virgin Galactic. As of 2004, it was planned to be the first of five commercial suborbital SS2 spacecraft planned by Virgin Galactic. Enterprise was destroyed during a powered test flight on 31 October 2014, killing one pilot, Michael Alsbury, and seriously injuring another, Peter Siebold. An investigation revealed the accident was caused by premature deployment of the “feathering” system, the ship’s descent device; the NTSB also faulted the spacecraft’s design for lacking fail-safe mechanisms that could have deterred or prevented early deployment.
The spaceship was officially unveiled to the public on 7 December 2009 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. On 29 April 2013, after nearly three years of unpowered testing, the first one constructed successfully performed its first powered test flight.
The Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo is an air-launched suborbital spaceplane type designed for space tourism. It is manufactured by The Spaceship Company, a California-based company owned by Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic is an American spaceflight company within the Virgin Group. It is developing commercial spacecraft and aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists. Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft are air launched from beneath a carrier airplane known as White Knight Two.