Tag: Richard Branson

Branson Signs Deal for Supersonic Passenger Plane

16 Comments
Supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom)

Supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom)

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is partnering with a start-up company called Boom on the production of a new Mach 2.2 commercial airliner. The deal will involve work by Virgin Galactic and its subsidiary, The Spaceship Company.

Continue reading ‘Branson Signs Deal for Supersonic Passenger Plane’

L-3 Modifying Virgin Galactic’s Cosmic Girl 747 to Launch Satellites

Comments
Virgin Galactic Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WACO, Texas, March 16, 2016 (L-3 PR) – L-3 and Virgin Galactic announced today that Virgin Galactic’s 747-400 aircraft, which serves as an airborne launch pad for its LauncherOne small satellite launch service, has arrived at L-3’s Platform Integration facilities and is entering into the next phase of its modification process.

Continue reading ‘L-3 Modifying Virgin Galactic’s Cosmic Girl 747 to Launch Satellites’

So Exactly How Safe Will SpaceShipTwo Be?

16 Comments
Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Part 5 of 6

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the recent roll out of VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic marked a symbolic milestone in its recovery from the October 2014 accident that destroyed the first SpaceShipTwo and killed pilot Mike Alsbury.

Two questions loomed large over the celebrity-studded event. When will it fly? And how safe will it be when it does?

Company officials gave no timeline on the first question. Their answers about SpaceShipTwo’s safety differed significantly from previous claims they made over the last 11.5 years.

Continue reading ‘So Exactly How Safe Will SpaceShipTwo Be?’

Prizes, Technology and Safety

Comments
Charles A. Lindbergh (Credit: Library of Congress)

Charles A. Lindbergh (Credit: Library of Congress)

Part 3 of 6

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

At 10:22 p.m. on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh brought the Spirit of St. Louis to a safe landing at Le Bourget Aerodrome in Paris. He had just completed the first non-stop New York to Paris airplane flight, a 33.5-hour journey during which he had covered 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km). As soon as the plane stopped, Lindbergh was surrounded by thousands of people who had gathered to welcome him. The exhausted pilot had been awake for 55 hours.

Continue reading ‘Prizes, Technology and Safety’

Early Aviation & the Safety of Space Tourism

Comments
Crashed Boeing Model 299 at Wright Field, Ohio in 1934.

Crashed Boeing Model 299 at Wright Field, Ohio in 1934.

Part 2 of 6

“I question whether our insatiable appetite for total safety is serving the needs of the exploring human inside us.”

– Stu Witt, former CEO & General Manager, Mojave Air & Space Port

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

After he won the $10 million Ansari X Prize with SpaceShipOne in October 2004, Scaled Composites Founder Burt Rutan had two goals for the SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism vehicle he was building for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

He vowed the vehicle would be at least 100 times safer than any human spacecraft that had ever flow. And the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would certify the spaceship in a manner similar to way the agency certifies aircraft.

Continue reading ‘Early Aviation & the Safety of Space Tourism’

Start-Up Space Report Shows More Venture Capital Invested In 2015 Than In Prior 15 Years Combined

Comments

Earth_from_space_graphic
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Tauri Group PR) – The year 2015 was a record-setting year for start-up space ventures with investment and debt financing of $2.7 billion (excluding debt financing, $2.3 billion). Nearly twice as much venture capital ($1.8 billion) was invested in space in 2015 than in the prior 15 years, combined. More than 50 venture capital firms invested in space deals in 2015, the most in any year during the 15-year study period (2000-2015).

Continue reading ‘Start-Up Space Report Shows More Venture Capital Invested In 2015 Than In Prior 15 Years Combined’

Text of Stephen Hawking’s Message at SpaceShipTwo Roll Out

Comments
Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

Professor Stephen Hawking
Recorded Message
VSS Unity Roll Out
Mojave Air & Space Port
19 February 2016

I have always dreamt of space flight. But for so many years, I thought it was just that – a dream. Confined to Earth and in a wheelchair, how could I experience the majesty of space except through imagination and my work in theoretical physics. I never thought I would have the opportunity to see our beautiful planet from space or gaze outward into the infinity beyond. This was the domain of astronauts, the lucky few who get to experience the wonder and thrill of space flight.

Continue reading ‘Text of Stephen Hawking’s Message at SpaceShipTwo Roll Out’

Video: Virgin Galactic Rolls Out Second SpaceShipTwo

Comments

Video Caption: Richard Branson unveils his latest gleaming Virgin Galactic passenger spaceship, over a year after a major mishap caused its sister ship to crash. Rough Cut – subtitled (no reporter narration).

Virgin Galactic Rolls Out SpaceShipTwo No. 2

Comments
Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif., February 19, 2016 (Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS, today unveiled its newly completed SpaceShipTwo. The rollout ceremony was attended by Sir Richard Branson and his family, Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronauts, and partners. Professor Stephen Hawking named the new vehicle Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity via a recorded speech and said, “I would be very proud to fly on this spaceship.”
Continue reading ‘Virgin Galactic Rolls Out SpaceShipTwo No. 2’

Mojave Ornithology Report — 02/18/16

26 Comments
SpaceShipTwo in flight on Dec. 19, 2012. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo in flight on Dec. 19, 2012. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

A new bird will appear in Mojave tomorrow.

SpaceShipTwo No. 2 will be rolled out of the hanger amid as much hype and hoopla as Virgin Galactic can generate. (And they can generate A LOT. Trust me. I’ve seen it.)

Continue reading ‘Mojave Ornithology Report — 02/18/16’

Character, Candor & Competence: Lessons From the SpaceShipTwo Crash

17 Comments
SpaceShipTwo right boom wreckage. (Credit: NTSB)

SpaceShipTwo right boom wreckage. (Credit: NTSB)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

One of the most interesting aspects of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into the SpaceShipTwo crash was how it pulled back the curtain on what was actually going on in the program being undertaken in Mojave. Over the years, the rhetoric has been frequently at odds with reality.

Continue reading ‘Character, Candor & Competence: Lessons From the SpaceShipTwo Crash’

Who Will Become the World’s First Commercial Spaceline?

80 Comments
New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)

New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)

With Blue Origin’s successful re-flight of its reusable New Shepard booster and capsule on Friday, the company jumped ahead in the competition to fly people into space on a commercial basis.

Continue reading ‘Who Will Become the World’s First Commercial Spaceline?’

Former Propulsion Chief Accuses Virgin Galactic of Lying About SpaceShipTwo’s Safety, Performance

52 Comments
SpaceShipTwo after being released for its final flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic/NTSB)

SpaceShipTwo after being released for its final flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic/NTSB)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Galactic’s former vice president of propulsion, Thomas Markusic, has accused Richard Branson’s space company of lying about the safety and performance of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism vehicle.

“Dr. Markusic was forced to separate from VG [Virgin Galactic] because the company was defrauding the public about the ability of the vehicles to reach space and was utilizing rocket engine technologies that have a high probability of causing catastrophic failure and loss of life,” according to the document.

Continue reading ‘Former Propulsion Chief Accuses Virgin Galactic of Lying About SpaceShipTwo’s Safety, Performance’

Will Virgin Galactic Name its Next SpaceShipTwo “Unity”?

13 Comments
The second SpaceShipTwo under construction. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

The second SpaceShipTwo under construction. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic filed applications in November to trademark the names “Unity” and “VSS Unity”, giving a strong hint about the name of the second SpaceShipTwo the company plans to unveil on Feb. 19.

VSS stands for Virgin Space Ship. The first SpaceShipTwo, which was destroyed in a flight test on Oct. 31, 2014, was named VSS Enterprise.

The applications identify launch services as the goods and services to be delivered under the “Unity” and “VSS Unity” trademarks.

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking is set to name the vehicle during the roll out ceremony next month if he is healthy enough to travel to Mojave, Calif. from his home in England.  Virgin Founder Richard Branson will preside over the event.

Scotland Seen in Lead for UK Spaceport as Branson Weighs in

18 Comments

UK_spaceport_candidates_shorterlistScotland is seen as being in the lead to host the UK’s first spaceport as government officials refine their selection criteria and Richard Branson expressed a hope that Virgin Galactic would fly from the facility.

Continue reading ‘Scotland Seen in Lead for UK Spaceport as Branson Weighs in’