Virgin Galactic hopes to begin the first powered flight tests of SpaceShipTwo this coming summer.


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Getting close: Virgin Galactic hopes to begin the first powered flight tests of SpaceShipTwo this coming summer.

“Over the next few months we’re integrating parts and pieces of the hybrid rocket motor into the SpaceShipTwo airframe, completing ground testing of the rocket motor, and then [will] try and start powered flight over the summer,” [chief executive officer and president George] Whitesides told SPACE.com. Those rocket-powered flights, he said, will continue for some period of time. Whitesides said it looks possible “to get up to space altitude by the end of the year, if all goes well.”

The company is also building a second WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo,

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