The SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and White Knight Two (WK2) under development for space tourism company Virgin Galactic will have a common fuselage, like the SpaceShipOne (SS1) and its carrier aircraft White Knight, says developer Scaled Composites.
Passengers will first fly aboard the WK2 for training, and a common fuselage will allow the SS2 and WK2 to carry the same number of people.
“We will [use the common fuselage] that worked well last time. We will always use our past experience on projects,” says Scaled Composites’ John Karkow, chief engineer for Virgin Atlantic’s GlobalFlyer.
The WK2 will use composite technology from the GlobalFlyer round-the-world aircraft, say Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn and operations vice-president Alex Tai. The WK2 will have a Boeing 757-scale wingspan and be three times larger than the SpaceShipOne’s carrier aircraft.
Virgin Galactic says the SS2 will carry seven tourists and two pilots, have a redesigned hybrid rocket motor and use SpaceShipOne’s “carefree” re-entry technique.