About 300 Virgin Galactic customers gathering in Mojave, Calif., on Wednesday to watch a test flight of SpaceShipTwo can chalk up their first real astronaut experience - the flight was scrubbed.
"We really wanted to do a special spaceship flight for you today," said Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides. "We gave it our all, but in the end weather just didn't cooperate."
"The decision that we made today symbolic of our general attitude, which is that ... we will work our guts out for you, but if there's anything that gives us concern about safety we're not going fly."
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"This is a vehicle that we are all going to fly on and when we do, we're going to do it right," Whitesides said.
SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot air-launched suborbital vehicle, so far has made several glide flight and two test flights of its rocket engine.
Several significant milestones remain before SpaceShipTwo will be ready for commercial flight services. Those include reaching maximum heating of the spaceship during atmospheric re-entry, a supersonic re-entry and maximum aerodynamic pressure, all of which require longer rocket burns and higher altitude than what has been achieved so far during the test flights.