The clock is ticking for civilian spaceflight. Wednesday’s glide of SpaceshipTwo was the first time the vehicle has flown with its rocket and tanks attached. It was an unpowered flight, though a powered one is planned by the end of the year. This looks a tight schedule, in that two more glide flights are planned before that, and the deadline is only ten days away.
It now looks quite likely that a flight into space will take place next year, although it may be the following year before the first fare-paying passengers are carried. I’ve been there to see two private citizens flown from Baikonur to the International Space Station by Space Adventures, and I was the first UK person to book a sub-orbital flight with them many years ago. Space Adventures buy space on other people’s hardware, and it remains to be seen when hardware that can take people into space receives its certification and begins taking tourists.
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