Virgin Galactic earlier revealed the first aircraft of its third-generation spacecraft (SpaceShip III), named “VSS Imagine”. VSS Imagine is about to start ground testing and is expected to start glide testing at the end of this year. Compared with the white body of the previous generation, SpaceShip III is changed to polished metal, which is not only a visual effect, but also has the effect of reflecting heat (this is also the same for SpaceX’s Starship).
Virgin Galactic said that SpaceShip III will adopt a modular design, with room for future upgrades everywhere, so that it can continue to improve performance and performance at a lower cost. While starting to test VSS Imagine, Virgin Galactic has also begun to build the next spacecraft of the same type, which will be named VSS Inspire. The company’s goal is to fly into space at least 400 times within a year, so it is bound to have a large fleet to meet the demand.
However, at the moment, the prototype VSS Unity of the SpaceShipTwo series is still waiting for the test flight. It tried to conduct a flight test in December last year, but it failed to ignite. At present, the new round of testing seems to be postponed to May. As for the formal business transition, it may not be realized until 2022.