Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 by British businessman Richard Branson, who had previously founded the Virgin Atlantic airline and the Virgin Group.
Virgin Galactic is preparing to make its first space flight from New Mexico later this fall. The flight, which will be operated by two pilots, will carry three NASA payloads and will serve to test systems and procedures on board.
Therefore, they will fly in a different way than when they carry space tourists. Thus, instead of stopping the vehicle in an inverted position to get the best views of Earth, they will tilt the vehicle 270 degrees after the push to get to the entry position as soon as possible.
This maneuver will maximize the time for payloads to remain in data collection mode. The transport of these payloads not only makes this test flight generate revenue, but also demonstrates our commitment to facilitating regular and accessible space-based scientific research.
The payloads will be placed in the spacecraft’s cockpit, where they will have other test targets planned. “Although we have flown with the passenger seats on previous flights, this will be the first time in a flight that we actively recline the seats once in space, creating additional space when future astronauts float in zero gravity. For this first test of recline of the seat in a space environment, we will have fastened test dummies “, they assure from the company.
In addition, they will test the full suite of internal cockpit cameras and future ability to transmit live images from the spacecraft to the ground, as well as the horizontal stabilizers (known as H-Stabs), which are the control surfaces. flight on the outside of the feathers.
They have also made improvements to the flight control system that commands these Hstabs to move in response to pilot inputs. “We have already made these improvements on our last two glide flights and they worked well. Together, these mods will improve the performance of the spacecraft and support long-term commercial service ”, they explain from Virgin.
With this flight, the group intends to receive some of the data necessary to close two final verification reports required by the FAA to eliminate the remaining condition on the current commercial space flight license.
Upon successful completion of this flight and review of the data, it will proceed to the next phase of testing, where four mission specialists will fly in the cockpit to test and refine equipment, procedures, training and general experience.