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,
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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