Virgin Galactic unveils third craft VSS Imagine – Sir Richard Branson fleet in pictures

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic revealed today (March 30) the VSS Imagine. The new spacecraft is the company’s first SpaceShip III model and expands the Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of suborbital vehicles. The spacecraft will soon begin its initial run of ground tests with plans to launch Imagine on glide flights in the summer.

Sir Richard said today: “Virgin Galactic spaceships are built specifically to deliver a new, transforming perspective to the thousands of people who will soon be able to experience the wonder of space for themselves.

“As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at, but represents Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of spaceships. All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea.

“Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet.”

According to the company, SpaceShip III introduces a modular design that will improve on past iterations of the spacecraft.

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The spacecraft is coated in a mirror-like material that gives it a glistening, metallic sheen.

The material will provide Imagine with the thermal protection necessary to keep its crew and passengers comfortable on short trips into space.

Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said: “Today we unveiled our SpaceShip III class of vehicles, marking the beginning of the Virgin Galactic fleet.

“VSS Imagine and Inspire are stunning ships that will take our future astronauts on an incredible voyage to space, and their names reflect the aspirational nature of human spaceflight.

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“Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone.”

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