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In an interview Richard Branson says that Virgin Galactic is working to replace SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid engine.
So for instance, the initial rocket which I’ll be flying on to space will be thrown away afterward. Within six to nine months, we will be using rockets that will have capability of being used maybe up to 1,000 times, but definitely up to 100 times. That will bring the cost of space travel down dramatically.
This timing fits with their new schedule for the first commercial flights of SpaceShipTwo sometime late in 2014. I suspect they are hoping to fly the ship a few more times with the troublesome hybrid engine, partly for engineering research and partly to keep interest up in the company, and then switch over to a new engine.