Tag: space tourists

Branson Reiterates Plan to Fly By End of Year

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Sir Richard Branson "high tens" with SpaceShip2 test pilot Mark Stuckey following the successful first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. At left is Mark Stuckey's wife Cheryl and at right is Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides..  The spacecraft was dropped rom its "mothership", WhiteKnight2 over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Sir Richard Branson “high tens” with SpaceShip2 test pilot Mark Stuckey following the successful first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. At left is Mark Stuckey’s wife Cheryl and at right is Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides.. The spacecraft was dropped rom its “mothership”, WhiteKnight2 over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Maria Bartiromo talks to Richard Branson about a number of subjects, including Virgin Galactic.

Q: You mentioned Virgin Galactic — what is your timing in terms of this program taking off?

A: I’ll be bitterly disappointed if I’m not into space by the end of the year. The rockets have now tested successfully. We’ve got three more rocket tests and then we should be up, up and away by the end of the year. That should be the start of the program. The space port’s ready. We are now in the last few weeks before finally embarking on the space program.

The “three more rocket tests” are likely the “handful” of additional powered flights that Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides has mentioned in recent months.

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XCOR Breaking Down Walls with Midland – One Step Closer to Space

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Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

Wall Breaking Ceremony Marks Start of Hangar Renovations

Midland, Texas, August 15, 2014 (XCOR PR) —At 10am this morning, just feet from the runway which will rocket XCOR® Lynx® customers to space and back, Midland Development Corporation and XCOR Aerospace® invited local officials, contractors, Midland residents and local press to attend the kickoff of new renovations on the XCOR hangar with a ceremonial wall breaking inside of XCOR’s Commercial Spaceflight Research and Development Center Headquarters at Midland International Airport (MAF).

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XCOR to Display Lynx Mockup in Monterey This Evening

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Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

MONTEREY, Calif,, August 13, 2014 (XCOR PR) — XCOR Aerospace presents its XCOR® Lynx® spacecraft full scale model as part of tonight’s Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival 2014, at the Monterey Jet Center. Dubbed a “Space Corvette” by Popular Mechanics, Lynx is a two-seat, fully reusable spaceplane designed to rocket XCOR customers to the edge of space in five minutes. Piloted by NASA Space Shuttle Commander Rick Searfoss, Lynx is currently under construction at the XCOR hangar in Mojave, California.

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Holly Branson Likely Out of First SpaceShipTwo Commercial Flight

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 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)

Editor’s Note: It’s official. Sir Richard has been reassuring the British media that Holly will not be the first person to give birth in space — a rather outlandish idea that some in the press corps over there seem strangely fixated on. Welcome to the world, twins! Now get ready for the 6G re-entry. Bizarre.

It would seem that Richard Branson’s daughter Holly will not be joining her famous father and brother Sam on the first SpaceShipTwo commercial flight, which is scheduled for the end of the year from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

“Freddie and I are delighted to share the happy news that we are expecting twins!” Holly Branson announced on Tuesday in a blog post on the Virgin Group’s website.

Passengers aboard SpaceShipTwo are expected to briefly experience up to six times the force of normal gravity during the suborbital flight.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides has said the company plans to conduct a “handful” of additional SpaceShipTwo test flights at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California before moving operations to New Mexico later this year.

The Branson flight is set to kickoff commercial service of the vehicle, for which about 700 people have signed up. Tickets cost $250,000 each.

Virgin Galactic Partners With Book Publisher

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Credit: Virgin Galactic

Credit: Virgin Galactic

MOJAVE, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 (VG PR) — Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, today announced a partnership with global book publisher DK to create seven exclusive titles over the next two years. The first book under the agreement, Virgin Galactic: The Ultimate Experience, will be published in October 2014 as Virgin Galactic moves toward the launch of commercial spaceflight.

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Agencies to Monitor Impact of Lynx Flights on Chickens

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Lesser prairie chicken

Lesser prairie chicken

Some news out of Midland, Texas, where concern over the impacts of Lynx rocket flights on the lesser prairie chicken have been a concern in Midland International Airport’s spaceport license:

The Midland International Airport sent a statement to NewsWest 9 saying the Department of Airports and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services agree there could be some effect on the birds.

So both agencies will be monitoring the first five launches to make sure the Lesser Prairie Chicken will not be harmed.

The spaceport license is required for XCOR Aerospace to move its research and development operations to the Midland airport from its current location in Mojave, Calif. The company will conduct test flights of its Lynx suborbital vehicle from the west Texas facility.

The Federal Aviation Administration is due to make a decision on the license application by Sept. 15.

Virgin Galactic Promotes Doug Shane to TSC President

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Doug_Shane

Doug Shane

MOJAVE, Calif. – July 29th, 2014 – The Spaceship Company (TSC), the space manufacturing venture owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, announced today that Doug Shane has been named President. TSC, the sister company of Virgin Galactic, is responsible for manufacturing the full fleet of Galactic’s innovative SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo space vehicles and has built extensive capabilities in all aspects of aerospace vehicle design, analysis, fabrication and test.

Shane will continue to report to George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.

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WhiteKnightTwo Flying With SpaceShipTwo Today

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Editor’s Note: Correction. This is a glide flight. It’s the first glide flight since Jan. 17.

Editor’s Note: This is mostly likely a captive carry flight to test out modifications to SpaceShipTwo. I’m still up in Silicon Valley today, so I’m not able to confirm this personally.

The Second Space Age is Beginning…and It’ll Be Awesome

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Video Caption: Will Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic’s VP of Special Projects, explains how the second space age promises to open up a new world of exciting opportunities.

Virgin Galactic Hires USAF Pilot

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Todd Ericson (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Todd Ericson (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif., July 24th, 2014 (VG PR) – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, announced today that Todd ‘Leif’ Ericson, former Operations and Maintenance Group Commander for the United States Air Force (USAF) has joined the company’s cadre of space pilots.

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