The space tourism company that suffered a tragic setback when its experimental rocket-powered spaceship broke apart over the California desert could resume test flights as early as next summer if it can finish building a replacement craft, its CEO said Wednesday.
The sleek composite shell and tail section of the new craft are sitting inside the company’s manufacturing facility in Mojave, California.
After more than two years of work, it’s beginning to look like a spaceship, but Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said there’s much more to be done, from relatively simple things such as installing windows to the more complex fitting of flight controls and other wiring.
The ship — dubbed SpaceShipTwo Serial No. 2 — will replace one that was destroyed last week after its feathering system that controls descent deployed prematurely and aerodynamic forces ripped it apart, killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot.