Tag: space tourism

Virgin Galactic Video on Employee Wellbeing


Video Caption: What does employee wellbeing look like in the space exploration industry? We take a look behind the scenes at Virgin Galactic to get some answers…

Jim Vanderploeg is the chief medical officer at the world’s first commercial spaceline and is charged with looking after not just future astronauts but the team at Virgin Galactic. With years of experience at orgainsations such as NASA, what does Jim view as the key to ensuring that a team which is preparing for space is happy and healthy?

Virgin Galactic Astro Relations Guy Leaves for Uber


Looks as if long-time Virgin Galactic Astronaut Relations guy Dave Clark has left the company for Uber.

Private Space Series Episode 2 Looks at XCOR


Video Caption: The Private Space team travels to the Mojave Desert in California to interview Dr. Lee Valentine, Chairman of the Space Studies Institutes and an early investor in XCOR aerospace, to talk about the future of private spaceflight.

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We follow certain entrepreneurs, public officials, and private citizens that are actively shaping a new kind of space race, and in the process, redefining what it means to explore the cosmos. This pilot episode of the new monthly web series Private Space, features an interview with California State Sen. Steve Knight, the lead author of California’s Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act.

Learn more about the series on our website: www.PrivateSpaceSeries.com

Spaceport America Previews New Visitor Experience


New Virgin Galactic PR Approach Already Sunk

 Sir Richard Branson and daughter, Holly, look through the window of a SpaceShipTwo shell. (Photo credit: Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

Sir Richard Branson and daughter, Holly, look through the window of a SpaceShipTwo shell. (Photo credit: Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic’s new public relations strategy has been torpedoed less than two weeks after it was publicly rolled out.

On March 31, NBC New’s Alan Boyle wrote about the company’s new approach to managing expectations:

“…there’s one lesson they’re willing to share: Don’t say too much about what you’re planning to do before you do it.

Before the accident, company founder Richard Branson issued statements saying SpaceShipTwo would fly paying passengers to the edge of space within one to three years — whether that translated into 2007, or 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015.

“Sometimes people misinterpreted those as firm dates or promises,” said Will Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic’s vice president for projects, “so we don’t want to repeat that mistake.”

It seems like the boss didn’t get the memo about the new strategy. Following a visit to Mojave on Thursday, Branson issued yet another prediction.

“There is going to be about a one-year delay,” he told Bloomberg Television, adding the team was working “day and night” on the next SpaceShipTwo.

A year’s delay from what point was not clear. If it’s from the time of the accident last Oct. 31, that would put the first commercial flight toward the end of the first quarter of 2016. Prior to the crash, Branson was predicting that first flight in the first quarter of this year.

The new timeline doesn’t appear to be very credible. Following the loss of SpaceShipTwo, officials had predicted they would have the second spacecraft completed within about six months. With that deadline now approaching, they are now talking about having the new SpaceShipTwo ready for ground tests by the end of the year.

Branson Visits Mojave


Richard Branson was in Mojave this morning to visit the troops over at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company. Apparently, work on the second SpaceShipTwo has “advanced tremendously” and the shop floor is buzzing.

After the crash in October, Virgin Galactic said it would have the second spaceship completed in five or six months. That would be about now. They don’t appear to be anywhere close to that goal; they’re now talking about have the spaceship ready for ground testing by the end of the year.

In lieu of a completed spaceship, a visit by Branson with photos and the appropriate expressions that all is going well is the next best thing.

Blue Origin to Begin New Shepard Flight Tests Later This Year

With touchdown 1,630 feet from the launch pad, Blue Origin completed a successful test of its Crew Capsule escape system. (Credit: Blue Origin)

With touchdown 1,630 feet from the launch pad, Blue Origin completed a successful test of its Crew Capsule escape system. (Credit: Blue Origin)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Blue Origin plans to begin flight tests of its reusable suborbital New Shepard vehicle later this year from its West Texas facility, President Rob Meyerson said today.

The company also announced that it had completed acceptance testing on the BE-3 hydrogen engine that will power the suborbital capsule. The company said the engine has been fired for more than 30,000 seconds during 450 tests.

Continue reading ‘Blue Origin to Begin New Shepard Flight Tests Later This Year’

Sarah Brightman Does Zero G Training



Mojave Returns to Normal as Virgin Galactic Gets Back “On Track”

Credit: Virgin Galactic

Credit: Virgin Galactic

Following the loss of SpaceShipTwo on Halloween, Richard Branson promised Virgin Galactic would redouble its efforts to have the second SpaceShipTwo completed and start testing by April.

Now that April has arrived, NBC News’ Alan Boyle — whose parent company has a multi-platform promotional deal with Virgin — has checked in to see how things are progressing. Apparently, not very rapidly.

Continue reading ‘Mojave Returns to Normal as Virgin Galactic Gets Back “On Track”’

Virgin Galactic Releases New Video, Gets Visit From Electric Race Car


Video Caption: An introduction to our Spaceship Propulsion Team, narrated by Propulsion Program Manager, Jarret Morton, including behind the scenes shots of our manufacturing facilities.

Editor’s Note: Jarret describes Virgin’s hybrid propulsion system as “game changing.” I don’t know about that. Musk, XCOR, et.al., are moving toward reusable liquid bi-props that promise to bring down launch costs. Virgin has a reusable ship whose engine must be replaced after every flight. That’s very costly.

Morton was nominated by his peers as one of the Virgin Stars of the Year for 2013. The honor included a trip to a big party at the Branson mansion in England.

Editor’s Note: Branson has strongly hinted that he plans to use his electric race cars as a foundation to challenge fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors. He claims to have teams working on the technology.

This generated a lot of headlines, as most pronouncements involving Branson and Musk do. It’s a pretty tall order, especially given Tesla’s massive head start. We’ll see what — if anything — comes of it.