The purpose originally proposed for SpaceShipThree in 2005 was for commercial orbital spaceflight, as part of a program called "Tier 2" by Scaled Composites.
By 2008, Scaled Composites had reduced those plans and articulated a conceptual design that would be a point-to-point vehicle traveling outside the atmosphere. By 2008, the SpaceShipThree concept was to be used for transportation through point-to-point suborbital spaceflight with the spacecraft providing, for example, a two-hour trip on the Kangaroo Route (from London to Sydney or Melbourne).
Scaled was sold to Northrop Grumman in 2007, and references to further work on a conceptual Scaled SS3 ended at some point afterwards from Scaled.
By 2016, Richard Branson was still planning to have a point-to-point sub-orbital spaceliner follow-up to SpaceShipTwo.
- "SpaceShipThree poised to follow if SS2 succeeds". Flight International. FlightGlobal. 23 August 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- Leonard David (11 August 2006). "Burt Rutan on Civilian Spaceflight, Breakthroughs, and Inside SpaceShipTwo". Space.com.
- SpaceShipThree revealed?, FlightGlobal Hyperbola, Rob Coppinger, 29 Feb 2008
- Irene Klotz (19 February 2016). "Branson's Virgin Galactic moves to return to space race". Reuters.
- Space tourism companies aiming for orbit (New Scientist Space, 8/24/2005)