July 10, 2012

Virgin Galactic Shows Off Updated SpaceShipTwo

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

The Virgin Galactic spaceship is expected to be making a debut at Farnborough International Airshow, which is considered to be the world's leading aviation marketplaces.

The airshow lasts for six days, and will bring 250,000 industry people and fans to a small town west of London.

According to reports, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, will be using the event to reveal design changes to the company's SpaceShipTwo.

This spaceship is positioned to be the first tourist aircraft, with tickets to travel to space aboard it going for $200,000 a flight.

According to a CNN report, Branson may also be announcing plans for a satellite-launching service by Virgin Galactic.

The airshow may not have as much flare as previous years though, due to the recession problems the European markets are facing.

Despite reports of Branson making an appearance, there have been no traditional aviation launches or announcements scheduled at the event, which is in its 64th year.

"This year won't be a show for aircraft debuts or actual hardware that we'll be seeing for the first time," Murdo Morrison, editor of Flight International magazine, told CNN. "There's nothing there which will be new and terribly exciting. It will be more about the business."

Airbus will be showing off its A380 superjumbo aircraft, while Boeing will be offering up its giant 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner to onlookers.

CNN reported that Morrison said overall sales this year may suffer because of the economic downturn that is playing out in European budgets.

"Farnborough remains an important platform for the industry to meet, for the supply chain to get together and for the companies to meet their customers," he told CNN. "It's also still an important platform for companies to make media announcements."

"But on the negative side, its a big, costly show and some of the logistics are challenging, particularly for those people staying and traveling from London."