This past weekend Virgin Galactic featured the first (non-pain) passenger lot-Balihood launch, given to Richard Branson, founder, and CEO for Passenger. At the end of the festival, I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Musa, the president of the company, who thinks he is familiar with every detail of the operation and the company’s plans to go on commercial flights from the test. Unfortunately, my recorder went out of the fridge, but Musa was on the verge of hopping on the phone over the weekend (again) talking about the next generation of space planes, where the company needs to invest, and more. You can read through our conversation below. (Interview edited lightly for clarity.)
Moses: This is the first of a series of test flights we’re doing right now and the plane with Richard, it represents a shift away from the more classic and traditional theatrical, envelope test, where we see aerodynamics and trajectories and many more operational checks with handling qualities. -Out, where we are verifying the cabin experience, training methods, hardware for the people in the back, and what they are going to do. So we’ve put together a series of a few flights, precisely three, which both showcase the main product milestones and features as well as allow time to repeat and develop and customize our cabin backup experience but as always, it’s a hypothetical schedule, isn’t it?
Schedules and numbers are going to depend on the results. So if things go right, we think it’s a series of our three flights that will add more to the need based on what we’re learning when we find the things we need to adjust. Based on the results we got after Richard and the crew returned from the last flight, you know, we know we have some staff to work with but everything was pretty good.
Now, we know we’re going to have those flights later this summer and later this summer, and then we’ve announced during our previous earnings call, we’ll be ready to go where we’ve made a ‘change episode’ ready for their commercial service To do that we are going to do some upgrades about our mother power and our spacecraft. The main focus there is to look at things that allow us to increase our flight-rate frequency.