SpaceShipTwo Unity makes first New Mexico glide flight


Capitalism in space: Virgin Galactic’s Unity suborbital spaceship successfully completed its first glide test flight from its New Mexico launch site yesterday.

They still have not set a date for their first commercial flights, so the company still claims those first flights will occur this year. I will believe it when I see it.

There does appear to be one apparent positive development for Virgin Galactic. It increasingly appears as if Blue Origin is slowly abandoning its effort to compete for suborbital tourism with its New Shepard spacecraft. Blue Origin has not said so, but the extreme slow down in test flights the last two strongly implies it. Moreover, that company’s success in garnering big government contracts, a billion from the military for its orbital New Glenn rocket and about a half billion from NASA for its proposed Blue Moon manned lunar lander, reinforces the sense that the company is shifting its focus away from suborbital space.

If so, that will clear the market for Virgin Galactic, assuming a viable market still exists with the coming of private commercial orbital spaceships like Dragon and Starliner.

One comment

  • Michael G. Gallagher

    Is Bezos trying to leverage government money to build New Glenn? He has to know that if and when the Starship-Superheavy combo enters service the SLS will look increasingly ludicrious. I do remember seeing a pic of a proposed Blue Origin manned capsule on Pinterest. Two New Glenns, one for the lunar lander and one for Capsule would make for a nice private Moon program, all largely funded by govt money. But if Musk actually pulls off Starship/Superheavy, that will make New Glenn redundant, too. Is Bezos plotting with Senator Shelby to try to screw Space X once again? Or does he think he has and inside track with the USAF?

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