Virgin Galactic has announced that it will delay it commercial space flights until the fourth quarter of 2022, so it will be around a year before their next spaceflight.
The company has said that it will now start its planned enhancement program for VMS Eve and VSS Unity and will then launch a Unity 23 test flight after they have completed these programs.
The enhancement program is designed to improve vehicle performance and flight-rate capability for VMS Eve and VSS Unity. In preparation for this work, Virgin Galactic has been performing routine tests and analyses to update its material properties database. This data predicts how materials are expected to perform under certain load and environmental conditions and is used to inform the design and manufacturing enhancements that will support increased flight frequency. One of these recent laboratory-based tests flagged a possible reduction in the strength margins of certain materials used to modify specific joints, and this requires further physical inspection.
As is standard in aerospace test and evaluation practices, Virgin Galactic ships are designed to withstand forces that are substantially higher than those experienced in regular use, providing additional margin and layers of safety. The enhancement program is designed to further increase margins that will enable improved reliability, durability and reduced maintenance requirements when in commercial service. While this new lab test data has had no impact on the vehicles, our test flight protocols have clearly defined strength margins, and further analysis will assess whether any additional work is required to keep them at or above established levels. Given the time required for this effort, the Company has determined the most efficient and expedient path to commercial service is to complete this work now in parallel with the planned enhancement program.
You can find more details about Virgin Galactic plans for their commercial flights over at their website at the link below.
Latest Geeky Gadgets Deals
Disclosure: Some of our articles include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, Geeky Gadgets may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.