Author Topic: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships  (Read 8199 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« on: 07/06/2022 08:26 pm »
https://investors.virgingalactic.com/news/news-details/2022/Virgin-Galactic-Selects-Boeing-Subsidiary-Aurora-to-Build-New-Motherships/default.aspx

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VIRGIN GALACTIC SELECTS BOEING SUBSIDIARY AURORA TO BUILD NEW MOTHERSHIPS

JULY, 06, 2022
Agreement with Aurora Flight Sciences to Deliver Two Vehicles, Each Designed to Fly Up To 200 Launches Per Year

First New Mothership Expected to Enter Service in 2025

Outsourced Manufacturing Approach Will Improve Speed to Market, Provide Access to Labor Pools, Minimize Supply Chain Disruption, and Realize Efficiencies


TUSTIN, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) (the “Company” or “Virgin Galactic”), an aerospace and space travel company, today announced an agreement with Aurora Flight Sciences (“Aurora”), a Boeing company, to partner in the design and manufacturing of the Company’s next generation motherships. The mothership is the air launch carrier aircraft in Virgin Galactic’s space flight system, that carries the spaceship to its release altitude of approximately 50,000 feet.

Headquartered in Virginia, Aurora brings more than 30 years of experience building cutting-edge aircraft from concept to delivery and specializes in novel aircraft configurations and complex composites. Virgin Galactic has been working with Aurora for the past several months to develop design specifications as well as workforce and resource requirements in preparation for this long-term project. The two-vehicle contract announced today will enable Aurora to immediately begin development.

Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said: “Our next generation motherships are integral to scaling our operations. They will be faster to produce, easier to maintain and will allow us to fly substantially more missions each year. Supported by the scale and strength of Boeing, Aurora is the ideal manufacturing partner for us as we build our fleet to support 400 flights per year at Spaceport America.”

Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing strategy is designed to leverage third party suppliers to improve efficiency, access new innovation and technology, and tap into existing highly skilled labor pools. This allows the Company’s in-house team to focus on complex and critical elements such as design, engineering and final assembly.

Aurora plans to manufacture the aircraft at its Columbus, Mississippi and Bridgeport, West Virginia facilities. Final assembly of the motherships will be completed at the Virgin Galactic facility in Mojave, California.

“With Aurora, we are accessing the best of the nationwide aerospace ecosystem,” said Swami Iyer, President of Aerospace Systems. “As a subsidiary of the world’s largest aerospace company, Aurora has some of the industry’s top engineers and manufacturing facilities.”

Todd Citron, Boeing Chief Technology Officer and Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Research & Technology added: “Boeing is excited to contribute our culture of safety, our operational excellence, and our expertise in aircraft design and manufacturing to help advance human space travel. Today’s announcement expands our collaboration with Virgin Galactic to accelerate transformative aerospace technologies.”

“This partnership between Aurora and Virgin Galactic brings together teams that share a passion for aerospace, innovation, and exploration,” said Per Beith, Aurora President and CEO. “Aurora's decades of experience in aircraft design, composite manufacturing, and vehicle integration, coupled with our world-class engineers and manufacturing technicians, enables us to provide the unique expertise and capabilities necessary to complete these next generation aircraft. We're thrilled to have this opportunity to support Virgin Galactic’s mission to pioneer space travel.”

The first new mothership is expected to enter service in 2025, the same year Virgin Galactic’s first Delta-class spaceship is expected to begin revenue payload flights. The Company’s upcoming commercial missions are expected in Q1 2023.

You can download all press materials including images and b-roll from the Virgin Galactic Press Assets
« Last Edit: 07/06/2022 08:27 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Offline Vahe231991

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #2 on: 07/07/2022 01:47 am »
Will these two new motherships on order also be used to carry SpaceShipThree?

Offline butters

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #3 on: 07/07/2022 02:33 am »
Will these two new motherships on order also be used to carry SpaceShipThree?
SpaceShipThree was de-scoped and became this more modest iteration on SS2 that they're calling the Delta class. The stuff they were planning for SS3, like point-to-point missions, is postponed to a later generation at best. The priority is to fix the problems with SS2 and WhiteKnightTwo so they can deliver the service they promised many years ago.

Offline Toast

Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #4 on: 07/07/2022 02:34 am »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #5 on: 07/07/2022 03:06 am »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.
I think Delta may also be about getting a safer design.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Surfdaddy

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #6 on: 07/07/2022 04:02 am »
Virgin's schedule experience, combined with Boeing's recent project management expertise on 737MAX and Starliner - what could possibly go wrong?

Offline Lars-J

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #7 on: 07/07/2022 04:21 am »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.
I think Delta may also be about getting a safer design.
Then I think you will be disappointed. It is a very small incremental evolution of SS2.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #8 on: 07/07/2022 05:02 am »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.
I think Delta may also be about getting a safer design.
Then I think you will be disappointed. It is a very small incremental evolution of SS2.
Where can I read details of it?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline ZuluLima

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #9 on: 07/07/2022 05:51 am »
In the transcripts of the fraud trial if you're willing to wait.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #10 on: 07/07/2022 05:51 am »
The deal with Aurora is to implement the plan discussed in February. The Delta version of SS2 sounds like it’s addressing maintenance and manufacturability issues (flaws to you and me?!):

http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum35/HTML/001032.html

Quote
Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier provided some details about the company's plans for a fourth generation spaceship during an earnings call on Thursday (Feb. 25):

We are embarking on a multi-year effort that targets flying 400 flights per year per spaceport. To do so, we will need to efficiently build more spaceships and more motherships. I'm pleased to share today that we have formally launched two new programs within Virgin Galactic that will be critical to this effort.

The first will be for our next-generation spaceship, the fourth generation, which we're referring to internally as the Delta class of vehicles. We'll be updating our engineering drawings to improve manufacturability and we will invest in our manufacturing facilities, processes and partnerships to improve cost and schedule efficiency. These vehicles are designed to have faster turnaround times due to the reduction in maintenance between flights.

While we will initiate our commercial service using the SpaceShipTwo and SpaceShip III class vehicles, it is our Delta class of spaceships that we believe will really accelerate the economic growth of the company.

The second and equally important new program is for our next-generation mothership. We plan to have the capability to fly multiple times per day at a spaceport and we will need multiple motherships to do so.

We have incredible teams that signed on these important programs and we will have more to say on these initiatives as we move forward.

Offline Star One

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #11 on: 07/07/2022 07:15 am »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.
I think Delta may also be about getting a safer design.
Then I think you will be disappointed. It is a very small incremental evolution of SS2.
I thought the whole point of it was to fix the issues with the current vehicle.

Offline high road

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #12 on: 07/07/2022 11:15 am »
Virgin's schedule experience, combined with Boeing's recent project management expertise on 737MAX and Starliner - what could possibly go wrong?

And Boeing can bring their preference for introducing SPOF's and for outright refusing to teach pilots about them even after multiple flights have crashed, killing all on board, to the mix.

On the other hand, Boeing paying a fine to the FAA again rather than respecting their rules may turn out to be cheaper in the long run.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2022 11:17 am by high road »

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #13 on: 07/07/2022 04:35 pm »
I thought the WK2 aircraft was built by Scaled Composites?

Offline SweetWater

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #14 on: 07/07/2022 05:02 pm »
I thought the WK2 aircraft was built by Scaled Composites?

You thought correctly. The other issues with Virgin Galactic aside, Scaled always seemed like a good choice of a partner for this project, as they have a good track record developing bespoke high-performance aircraft. Boeing, on the other hand....

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #15 on: 07/07/2022 05:17 pm »
This is a great reminder of just how far wrong Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo has gone since the very promising days of the Ansari X Prize and the triumph of SpaceShipOne.

It is very clear that Sir Richard Branson and those partnered with him on SpaceShipTwo failed greatly in understanding the special problems with scaling up a crewed and passenger carrying craft from SpaceShipOne and the performance needed.

If that was not bad enough, there are few escape options for the occupants of a SpaceShipTwo should there be a serious malfunction after separation and during powered ascent as was tragically demonstrated during PF4 of VSS Enterprise on October, 2014 that saw the loss of vehicle and the death of co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

Given the on-going problems, I am very surprised that more customers have not cancelled their reservations with Virgin Galactic than just the UAE Space Agency.

Offline Toast

Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #16 on: 07/07/2022 05:58 pm »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.
I think Delta may also be about getting a safer design.
Safety improvements would definitely be welcome, but in my opinion SpaceShip's core design is fundamentally unsafe. I'm also not convinced that Virgin Galactic is currently capable at an organizational level of designing, building, or operating vehicles safely.

Online JayWee

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #17 on: 07/07/2022 06:24 pm »
Soon it's gonna be 20 years and they are still not flying... I wonder when they give up.

Btw, does this mean they admit that the current White Knight + SS2 is unusable?
« Last Edit: 07/07/2022 06:25 pm by JayWee »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #18 on: 07/07/2022 07:08 pm »
.....
Btw, does this mean they admit that the current White Knight + SS2 is unusable?
They don't have to admit anything. But getting the FAA to issue a new airworthiness certificate for the White Knight after major repairs for structural delamination might be problematic.

Offline Surfdaddy

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Re: VG deal with Boeing subsidiary for 2 motherships
« Reply #19 on: 07/07/2022 07:30 pm »
Seems insane to me. Primarily because I doubt they can hit any sort of reliable cadence without a fatal accident given their poor safety track record to date, but also because they've already suffered so many timeline setbacks that instead of going head-to-head with New Shepard they might be going up against tourist jaunts on Starship.
I think Delta may also be about getting a safer design.
Safety improvements would definitely be welcome, but in my opinion SpaceShip's core design is fundamentally unsafe. I'm also not convinced that Virgin Galactic is currently capable at an organizational level of designing, building, or operating vehicles safely.

I'm not so sure the design is fundamentally unsafe, more that it has been very poorly executed. When Burt Rutan designed the original vehicle, it was intended to be inherently safe as the feathering mechanism would provide aerodynamic stability for reentry without the need for attitude thrusters. But things like delamination, pilot error in engaging the shuttlecock prematurely, and poor engine performance which doesn't enable flights to even reach the Karman Line aren't the fault of the design, but of execution and training.

 

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