UK advanced materials provider Advanced Composites Group (ACG) is the first supplier for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and White Knight 2 (WK2) to be announced.

ACG, a long time supplier to SS2 developer Mojave based Scaled Composites, is providing its new prepreg MTM45-1 material, which the UK company claims does not require an autoclave to produce very large components.

SS2 and WK2 have the same fuselage with a cabin diameter similar to that of a business jet. Virgin Galactic has described WK2 as an all composite aircraft which will have a wing span of up to 38m (124ft).

SS2 and whiteknight W445 
©Virgin Galactic

 Above: White Knight 2 carries SpaceShipTwo prior to launch

“With this new generation of prepregs you can get the same result as high pressure cured materials with only one atmosphere of pressure. They give the same performance, toughness and quality as high-temperature autoclave cured materials as well as having improved handleability and work life at room temperature,” says ACG technology vice president Christopher Ridgard.

He added that the MTM45-1 material has a mechanical property database in accordance with the US Fedral Aviation Administration’s latest methodology.

This means the material is not restricted to use on prototype and experimental vehicles but could also be qualified for use on other classes of aircraft.

SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft White Knight used ACG’s out of autoclave LTM45EL material.