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Virgin Galactic unveils polished stainless steel spaceplane

North America / Science and technology
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Richard Branson's company followed Elon Musk's example by using stainless steel to skin the fuselage of a space plane.

Virgin Galactic unveils polished stainless steel spaceplane

Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tourism company that hopes to send its first clients into space next year, unveiled on Tuesday a new design of the spacecraft. The new spacecraft has a polished stainless steel mirror finish that the company says will enhance the experience for space travelers.

"Virgin Galactic spaceships are specifically designed to provide new, transformative perspectives for thousands of people who will soon experience the wonder of space for themselves," says Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic.

Flight tests of the new aircraft are expected to begin this summer, the company said.

The redesigned spaceplane was designed to be easier to manufacture and durable enough to help the company achieve its goal of 400 suborbital flights every year.

This dynamic material not only provides thermal protection, but also naturally attracts the human eye, reflecting an innate human fascination with space and a transformative experience in space travel, says Virgin Galactic.

The company's development program has suffered years of delays for various reasons, including the fatal 2014 crash that killed the test pilot, technological freezes and, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Virgin Galactic says it currently has about 600 customers and plans to resume selling tickets for space travel soon. However, new tickets are expected to cost more than $ 250,000, already more than the average home price in the United States.

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Recall that recent prototypes of the Starship spacecraft, whose skin and rudders were originally made of AISI 301 stainless steel alloy. Elon Musk then stated that his SpaceX company made some changes to the chemical composition of stainless steel and Today, the latest prototypes of the starship are made from more advanced stainless steel. The same steel will be used for facing new Tesla Cyber ​​Track vehicles.

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