Sir Richard Branson\’s fledgling space tourism firm has revealed the latest member of its burgeoning fleet.
It\’s been a bumpy few years for Virgin Galactic, especially with the loss of its original SpaceShipTwo in October 2014 – an accident that not only claimed the life of a pilot, but also cast doubt on whether the company\’s lofty goal of launching tourists into space would ever happen at all.
More recently however things have been looking up, with the unveiling of the VSS Unity in 2016 and now – five years on – a second space plane that has been dubbed VSS Imagine.
It is the first of the company\’s new \’Space Ship III\’ line of vehicles that will ultimately carry passengers and experiments into suborbital space.
“As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at but represents Virgin Galactic\’s growing fleet of spaceships,” said Branson.
“All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea. 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.”
As things stand, it\’s unclear when the first actual space tourism flight will take place, however VSS Unity is currently preparing for its next suborbital test mission in May.
“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,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier.
“Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone.”