Tag: space tourists

Space Conferences, Engine Claims and Silly Putty

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SpaceShipTwo in powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo in powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Over the years, I’ve heard many speakers at various space conferences and events say all sorts of things that I felt…oh, comment on dit?…stretched the truth like Silly Putty. Yes, that’s a polite way to put it.

After a while, I’ve become quite numb to it all — the hype, promises, publicity stunts, optimistic schedules that get blown away like fallen leaves on a windy Mojave day. By this point, most of it just passes over me without meriting so much as a mention.

But, sometimes I hear something that stretches the rhetorical Silly Putty beyond the breaking point. I had just such an experience three weeks ago at the Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

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Virgin Galactic to Conduct Google Hangout from Mojave on Friday

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A majority of Virgin Galactic's future Astronauts gather with Sir Richard Branson (center) for a group photo at Virgin Galactic FAITH hangar in Mojave, CA September 25, 2013. AT side is the WhiteKnight2 mated with SpaceShip2. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

A majority of Virgin Galactic’s future Astronauts gather with Sir Richard Branson (center) for a group photo at Virgin Galactic FAITH hangar in Mojave, CA September 25, 2013. AT side is the WhiteKnight2 mated with SpaceShip2. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Google Science Fair
Galactic Hangout Virtual Field Trip
Friday, April 25, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET/1800 GMT

Join a “Galactic Hangout” with four members of the Virgin Galactic team: “What’s it like to work in a spaceship factory?”

What would it be like to work in the world’s first commercial spaceship factory? What kinds of jobs do people actually do there? What are their backgrounds, and how do they get hired?

You’ll see that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work in commercial space – although rocket scientists are always welcome!

We will be joined by space design guru Adam Wells, spaceship builder Joe Brennan, astronaut relations supremo Lauren De Niro Pipher – oh, and rocket scientist, Marissa Good! They’ll all be live from Virgin Galactic’s factory in Mojave, California. You’ll find out what it takes to build the Earth’s first spaceline –  scheduled to begin taking people up to space by the end of this year.

Sign up to attend, post your questions using the Q&A app, then come hear your questions answered live!

This session will be produced in collaboration with Google Connected Classrooms. If you’re an educator with a High School classroom who wants to actually join the Hangout, sign up on the Connected Classrooms form at http://goo.gl/z9gHfV

XCOR, John Corbett Raise Nearly Quarter Million at Celebrity Fight Night

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Actor and musician John Corbett and XCOR Chief Test Pilot Richard Searfoss climb aboard the Lynx replica at Celebrity Fight Night XX on Saturday, April 12th in Phoenix, Ariz. (Credit: XCOR)

Actor and musician John Corbett and XCOR Chief Test Pilot Richard Searfoss climb aboard the Lynx replica at Celebrity Fight Night XX on Saturday, April 12th in Phoenix, Ariz. (Credit: XCOR)

MOJAVE, Calif. and PHOENIX, Ariz. (XCOR PR)  — Actor John Corbett is better known for his roles in movies and popular TV shows such as Northern Exposure, Sex in The City and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but last Saturday, he was shooting for the stars to help knock out Parkinson’s disease by auctioning off a space flight with XCOR Aerospace to benefit Mohammed Ali’s Parkinson’s Research Center.

At the 20th Anniversary of Celebrity Fight Night’s gala fundraiser, Mr. Corbett joined other entertainment industry luminaries such as Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Michael Bublé, Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers to raise $8+ Million for Mohammed Ali’s Parkinson’s Research Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute, Saint Joseph’s Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona and other deserving charities.

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Lucky Emirati to Win Space Tourism Flight Aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

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Looking back as SpaceShipTwo's rocket engine fires during the third powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Looking back as SpaceShipTwo’s rocket engine fires during the third powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic CEO and President George Whitesides has announced a spaceflight contest for one lucky resident of the United Arab Emirates:

“Aabar Investments and Virgin Galactic are pleased to announce they have opened up one slot for an Emirati to travel into space onboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. These slots currently sell for $250 000. So, you can imagine it’s a huge opportunity for the lucky winner. Aabar Investments will be staging a competition, together with its parent company, IPIC, here in the UAE. The specifics of the competition and the terms and conditions are still to be finalized. For both companies, this is an ideal way for us to give back to the community.”

Aabar Investments, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, has invested $390 million in Virgin Galactic and owns 37.8 percent of the space tourism company.

Whitesides Vows to Fly on SpaceShipTwo Test Flight

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Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides speaks with current and prospective employees during Virgin Galactic’s recent career fair at Mojave Air and Spaceport in California. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides speaks to current and prospective employees during Virgin Galactic’s recent career fair at Mojave Air and Spaceport in California. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic CEO and President George Whitesides says he plans to be on a SpaceShipTwo test flight later this year:

Whitesides said at the Aerospace Summit at the start of April that he would take one of the latter test flights, before his boss took off on the first commercial space flight with his family.

“Sir Richard [Branson] flying on the first commercial flight has been a great sign to our customers that we’re not going to let him fly until we think it’s ready. Correspondingly, I think I should fly soon before Richard just to make sure that he knows that I fully believe in the technology,” he said.

This is a bit odd. But, it seems to be the VG way.

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Whitesides: First Spaceflight on Schedule for This Year

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George Whitesides

George Whitesides

Aabar Investments, the Abu Dhabi government company which owns 37.8 percent of Virgin Galactic, release the following Q&A today with Galactic CEO and President George Whitesides.

What brings you to the UAE?

We’re here for two events. The first was the Global Aerospace Summit. Secondly, we had a board meeting with our fellow Virgin Galactic shareholders, Aabar Investments, in their parent company’s, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), HQ building.

Is this your first time in Abu Dhabi?

We are co-owned by Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments. Naturally, with significant Abu Dhabi ownership, represented on our Board, we have been frequent visitors since Aabar made its initial investment in [2010]. We are very proud of our Emirati connections and continue to benefit from Aabar Investments’ ownership.

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Land Rover SpaceShipTwo Promotional Video

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Although Virgin Galactic has yet to fly anywhere close to space, it has managed to inspire any number of promotional videos about just how awesome the space tourism trips will be someday. Here’s the latest one from Land Rover, which was announced as a global sponsor earlier this week.

Virgin Australia Offers Space Class for SpaceShipTwo Flight

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virgin_australia_logoIn a world first for a frequent flyer program, Velocity is offering members the ultimate upgrade to ‘Space Class’. This is an exclusive seat on board SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceline with Virgin Galactic and certified astronaut status.

To be eligible*, simply register your Velocity membership number and tell us what you would do for an upgrade to Space Class between 14 April and 30 June 2014 (inclusive) and fly Virgin Australia between 1 May and 30 June (inclusive).

The eligible entrant with the most creative response to the question below will be awarded the Space Class Upgrade.

Virgin Galactic Forms Partnership With Land Rover

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Credit: Land Rover

Credit: Land Rover

NEW YORK (Land Rover PR) — Land Rover, the British brand synonymous with adventure, has revealed a long-term global partnership with Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic.

Demonstrating their shared vision of pioneering spirit, technological innovation and sense of adventure, the ground breaking partnership was announced against the backdrop of SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial passenger carrying spacecraft, together with Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept vehicle.  The announcement illustrates the commitment that both brands share to iconic design and engineering excellence and a desire to push the boundaries of travel for the next generation.

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Senate Committee Passes Spaceflight Licensing & Permitting Measure

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Capitol Building
The Senate Commerce Committee approved a measure on Wednesday that would allow space companies to fly their reusable launch vehicles under experimental permits even after the Federal Aviation Administration issues launch license.

Currently, the experimental permit is superseded by launch license, making it more difficult to use the vehicle to test modifications later on.

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