With the unveil of our spaceship taking place in two weeks, progress continues at pace to complete the final components before we reveal her to all of you, and the wider world, for the first time.
We wanted to share a few recent highlights with you that have been achieved so far in 2016:
Components – the rudder, forward pressure tank, gear doors and tail cone have been installed. Windows are now in place, as you can see in this picture.
Systems – pneumatic bottles have been installed, and checks are underway including running air through the Reaction Control System (RCS) nozzles.
Avionics – first ‘power on’ was a success. Continuity and stray voltage checks are well underway.
Testing – the main and emergency doors have been test fitted.
Exterior - the fuselage and wings have been painted. Parts of the livery has now been applied. We’ll be able to reveal all on 19th February!
In parallel, preparation for our return to flight plan continues. Over the last few weeks WhiteKnightTwo has performed near perfectly in a series of flights, supported by the TSC and VG Operations team. This week our two newest pilots, Nicola Pecile and Kelly Latimer, completed their FAA check rides and became FAA qualified WhiteKnightTwo pilots. Our mother vehicle will now head into a maintenance down period for a while, for inspections and system modifications before we return to flight.
The unveil of our spaceship marks a major milestone, and one that Richard is rightly keen to share and celebrate. There will however be further work required before our newly named spaceship takes to the skies for the first time. In particular, ground testing and ongoing component checks will all contribute to our return to flight plan. Hopefully we will be able to share our progress in person, if you are coming along to one of this year’s Mojave tours! If you haven’t already please check out our new online portal SpacePort to see more details on these, other activities planned for this year and to register your interest. You will have received an email with your logon instructions, but get in touch if you have any questions or need help logging in.