Virgin Galactic plans to resume suborbital flight tests of SpaceShipTwo (SS2) VSS Unity in late October from Spaceport America in New Mexico after a 20-month long hiatus, according to a filing the company made with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
A provision in George Whitesides’ contract has Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer — and possibly his wife, Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides — flying on one of SpaceShipTwo’s early suborbital flights from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
A couple of brief items on the who’s going to space front:
An anonymous Auckland man who won a $5.2 million lottery prize plans to pluck down $200,000 for a suborbital Virgin Galactic flight, the Waikato Times reports. He was on a bike ride when he stopped for a drink and bought the winning lottery ticket on a whim.
“People have always told me that you can’t win these big prizes – but now I’m the lucky bugger this week”, he told the paper. “I also want to look at travelling in real style – by booking a trip into space. It would be great to one of the first Kiwis to make that trip.”
Meanwhile, Babylon 5 star Bruce Boxleitner says the price would have to come down first before he books a Virgin flight, PR-insider reports.
“I wish they’d hurry it along and make it cheaper. I’d love to do it, but it’s like $200,000 per person,” he said. “We should get a Screen Actors Guild ride going! I have a feeling it’ll be the Scream Actors Guild.”
Boxleitner is on the Board of Directors of the National Space Society, a non-profit space advocacy group with close ties to the British tourism company. The society’s Executive Director, George Whitesides, also works for Virgin Galactic; he and his wife Loretta will honeymoon aboard one of the suborbital flights. However, this apparently isn’t helping Boxleitner get a discount.