Many people have suggested that the next step for Virgin Galactic after single point "space tourism" flights begin would be passenger suborbital flights, providing travel times many times faster than even the Concorde.

If they flew up to perhaps 30 miles, instead around 60 miles, much more of the rocket energy could be devoted to moving Spaceship 2 downrange.

If the Knight carrier aircraft flew straight towards the destination, how many miles would it travel before it reached the 50,000 foot drop altitude?

Then, on a flatter trajectory, how much further would Spaceship 2 go? How far could it glide after re-entry?

Not to rush things too much, but a "pilot scale" point to point flight from the Spaceport in New Mexico to California might be a good starting point. Would it be possible?


This is going to involve a lot of speculation!

I'd guess that White Knight Two will have to fly at approximately airliner speeds once it reaches altitude, otherwise it will stall in the thin air. Total flight time of the combination is expected to be 2.5 hours, which gives a range of about 2500km (if we optimistically assume it does Mach 0.8 the whole time, the initial climb is likely to be much slower)

Spaceship Two is projected to have 6 minutes of freefall and a top speed of 4000 km/h, so that's another 400km. If they thrust at an angle rather than straight up the top speed may be higher but the flight time will be lower, so I think it's a reasonable estimate.

If it starts gliding from 50,000ft (15km) and has a glide ratio of 5:1, it can cover another 75km (so picking a glide ratio out of the air has very little effect on the total)

I doubt anyone will pay $250,000 to fly 3000km at basically the same speed as an airliner.

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