September 11, 2014

Virgin Galactic Completes a Two-Day Flight Exercise with WhiteKnightTwo at Spaceport America and El Paso

Virgin Galactic’s pilots flew mothership aircraft in local airspace, continuing Virgin Galactic’s preparations for commercial operations in New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, NM. – Sept. 11, 2014 – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, deployed WhiteKnightTwo to Spaceport America for two days of flying in the New Mexico and El Paso air space. With this exercise, the world’s first commercial spaceline continues its test program incorporating pilots and team members who are responsible for the flight program.

The aim of the test flights was to continue to familiarize the spaceline with scheduling and the New Mexico airspace processes. Over the two days, WK2 flew several simulated launch profiles, spaceship approaches, and a divert to El Paso airport putting Virgin Galactic one step closer to launch.

“I am delighted to see WhiteKnightTwo flying in the skies of New Mexico. This is a great step on such an incredible journey,” said Christine Anderson, Executive Director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. “Congratulations to Virgin Galactic on this exciting venture.”

During the exercises, WK2 conducted Spaceport practice approaches, flew on simulated launch missions, refueled and changed crews, and landed at El Paso airport on a simulated divert profile

“Bringing WK2 and crew back to New Mexico is part of our ongoing preparations and puts us one step closer to our first commercial flight,” said George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic. “We thank NMSA for their continued role and leadership in realizing so many people’s dreams for space travel.”

With the aforementioned activities, Virgin Galactic continues taking solid steps forward towards the commencement of safe and efficient commercial operations of the first spaceline in history.