Boeing’s Aurora to build Virgin Galactic spaceship carrier plane

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Virgin Galactic inked an agreement with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to build the company’s new twin-fuselage carrier plane that will ferry its next-generation spaceship toward space, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism firm founded by billionaire businessman Richard Branson, has been building a more durable, mass-producable successor to its flagship SpaceShipTwo spaceplane, which drops from the underbelly of a carrier plane before rocketing to the edge of space for a few minutes.

Aurora, Boeing’s aeronautics and aviation research unit, will build two new carrier planes that will support the SpaceShipTwo craft and its successor, which Virgin Galactic calls Delta-class vehicles.

The new carrier planes, called “motherships,” are designed for faster production rates and to fly some 200 flights per year, the company said.
Under the agreement, Aurora will deliver parts of the motherships for assembly in 2025, Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

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