FlightAware Discussions

Virgin Galactic Test Flight Friday, 12/11/20

Was just announced on the news here that Virgin Galactic is going to run a test flight tomorrow if you want to monitor via FlightAware. I know the WhiteKnightTwo mother ship broadcasts ADS-B position (seen that in my raw feed since I have coverage in their flight test area) but don’t know about SpaceShipTwo. I would bet it does since it spends a bit of time in the same airspace. Should be interesting to monitor the whole flight profile if we get to see it.

“Virgin Galactic Flight Test Program Update – VSS Unity Preparing For First Rocket Powered Flight From New Mexico — Flight Window Opens on Friday 11 December“

Virgin Galactic will Operate Rocket Powered Flight with Reduced Team Onsite in Response to New State Government COVID-19 Restrictions.

Virgin Galactic today announced its new flight window since it paused the spaceflight preparations in response to state guidelines from the New Mexico Department of Health to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The new flight window will open on December 11, pending good weather conditions and technical readiness. This flight expects to fulfill a number of objectives, including testing elements of the customer cabin as well as assessing the upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls during boost. The flight will also carry payloads as part of the NASA Flight Opportunities Program.

The flight will be conducted by essential personnel only. No guests or media will be onsite, in accordance with company and state COVID-19 protocols. The operational footprint at our New Mexico facilities has been further minimized in the past 2 weeks. Only essential staff will be onsite to support the pre-flight operations ahead of the flight and the day of flight.

Michael Colglazier, CEO, Virgin Galactic said: “With safety as our core priority, we remain committed to completing our first powered flight in New Mexico. In accordance with local government guidelines and safety protocols, we have minimized the number of people onsite to the greatest degree possible. While on this occasion no media or guests will be allowed onsite, our team will endeavour to capture and share the beautiful images with the world after the flight has been completed. We look forward to completing this important milestone in our test flight program in the coming weeks.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said, “I’m grateful to Virgin Galactic, as I am to every business in our state, for their commitment to safety in this difficult time. This is an exciting announcement that demonstrates we have gotten back on track in a safe and speedy manner. New Mexico’s future on the cutting edge of aerospace development is brighter than ever.”

You can read more about our flight objectives and pre-flight preparations that occur in the weeks leading up to flight.

*** Delayed ***

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, New Mexico (KVIA) – Virgin Galactic announced it will not launch its historic flight from Spaceport America on Friday.

In a tweet, the company said: “Vehicles and flight crew are ready. Flight window is now open. We will fly no earlier than Saturday. We have range clearance through the weekend and can extend into next week if necessary. Evaluating high-level winds and turbulence. Stay tuned for updates.”

Friday was the first day the company could launch, but it has until December 24 to complete its mission.

If the launch goes as planned, it will mark a milestone. It would be the first powered launch from Spaceport America. This could pave the way for the first suborbital commercial flights in the near future. Virgin Galactic plans to offer the flights for $250,000 dollars each.

On Thursday, the company tweeted that weather conditions were not looking ideal for a Friday launch.

The Spaceship Two rocket/glider is indeed ADS-B equipped. It’s N202VG and FlightAware already has tracks. The mother is N348MS:

There appear to be multiple vehicles though so these N-numbers could change. Looks like FlightAware lets you monitor fleets so this may grab everything: https://flightaware.com/live/fleet/VGX