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credit Flight

Virgin Galactic’s president Will Whitehorn has told Hyperbola that the spaceline’s carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo will fly again “very soon”The WK2 flew for the first time on 21 December 2008 and on that day Whitehorn told Flight that the next flight was expected “early in the new year”

Recently rumours circulating at Mojave air and spaceport where WK2 prime contractor Scaled Composites is based have given this month as a likely restart to flight testing for the mothership

After the 21 December maiden flight success evidence that showed WK2 could require modification to its rudder, possibly to counter an excessive fishtailing effect due to the twin fuselage design, was obtained by Flight

Whitehorn responded that there were no issues that could affect the overall WK2 design. That is true, a rudder issue would not affect the overall design but it and other outcomes of the flight test programme could slow testing down, and more time in aerospace means more cost

In its January newsletter Virgin Galactic announced successful hot fire tests for its SpaceShipTwo propulsion system. Hyperbola has not heard of any tests being conducted at Mojave airport so it is likely that such work is being undertaken by technology company Spacdev. It has a contract to work on SS2 rocket motor development