Tag: space tourists

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Currently, the experimental permit is superseded by launch license, making it more difficult to use the vehicle to test modifications later on.

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NASA, Partners Provide Updates on Commercial Crew

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commercial_crew_earthDuring last week’s Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif., a panel of NASA and private sector partners gathered to discuss their progress on returning U.S. crew launches to American soil.

Below is a summary of their comments that provides some insights into where each partner is in development and what lies ahead for the rest of the year.

NASA is expected to award the next round of commercial crew contracts later this year.

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XCOR Accepts Delivery of Lynx Mark I Cockpit

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The XCOR Lynx Mark I cockpit in its shipping cradle; in the background the fuselage and liquid oxygen tank being prepped for integration and testing. (Credit: XCOR)

The XCOR Lynx Mark I cockpit in its shipping cradle; in the background the fuselage and liquid oxygen tank being prepped for integration and testing. (Credit: XCOR)

Mojave, CA, April 9, 2014 (XCOR PR) — XCOR Aerospace announced today that the XCOR® Lynx® Mark I cockpit has been delivered. AdamWorks engineers, along with XCOR engineers, performed several successful pressure tests before it was packed and shipped to XCOR .

The cockpit is the principle major subassembly XCOR needs to begin assembly of the Lynx suborbital spaceplane.

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Virgin Galactic Mulling Deeper Partnership With Abu Dhabi Government

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Will the Abu Dhabi government become even more deeply involved in Virgin Galactic?

That’s the question this week as Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides revealed that Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism company is in talks with Mubadala Development Company about a possible supplier relationship.

Mubadala, which is a wholly-owned investment vehicle for Abu Dhabi’s government, owns Mubadala Aerospace, which manufactures and supplies parts for commercial jets built by Boeing and Airbus.

Asked if Mubadala could supply parts or build any part of Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacecraft fleet, Whitesides said, “We’ve had good conversations with Mubadala and other stakeholders in the UAE and we will see where those conversations go.”

However, he added that he “won’t get into the details of those discussions.”

The Abu Dhabi government has invested $390 million in Virgin Galactic through Aabar Investments, which it also owns. Aabar holds a 37.8% share in Virgin Galactic.

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SpaceShipTwo Back on the Ramp

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mojave_tower_sunset_smBy Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

After a couple of months inside the hangar undergoing modifications, SpaceShipTwo is outside on the ramp today at the Mojave Air & Space Port in California.

Scaled Composites engineers are running the suborbital space plane through pressure tests on the cockpit, according to sources. The vehicle does not have an engine installed.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo last flew under power on Jan. 10, completing a 20-second burn of its hybrid nitrous oxide-rubber engine and reached an altitude of 71,000 feet. The ship flew again in an un-powered glide flight one week later before going into the hangar for changes.

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Spaceport America’s Incredibly Shrinking Visitor’s Center Threatens Tourism Plans

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spaceport_america_visitors_center

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Plans for a visitor’s center at Spaceport America have continued to shrink due to a lack of funding and revenues. And that could pose significant risks to New Mexico’s plans to boost the local economy by attracting more than 200,000 visitors to the remote facility where Virgin Galactic plans to launch tourists into space.

In fact, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority appears to be going down the very path that its own Strategic Business Plan warns will result in a poor visitor experience and fewer tourists paying money to see the high-tech spaceport.

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New Mexico Residents Wait for Godot — and Branson — to Show Up

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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez with Richard Branson at Spaceport America. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Over a BuzzFeed, writer Joshua Wheeler travels to the hardscrabble town of Truth or Consequences, N.M., whose residents are waiting for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to begin space tourism flights from nearby Spaceport America, possibly by the end of this year.

Wheeler asks whether the town is ready for the influx of high net worth individuals, and whether they will bring the benefits to Truth or Consequences and the rest of Southern New Mexico that were promised when state officials sold the $218 million taxpayer-funded project to residents.

The answer to the first question is a definite “No.” Truth or Consequences remains as dilapidated as ever, with few plans and little money to spruce itself up for Virgin Galactic’s millionaire clientele. This likely means it will lose out to the larger, more developed city of Las Cruces in terms of benefits.

As for the second question, Wheeler says that remains to be seen. He sees great irony that one of the poorest states in the country has spent nearly a quarter building dollars to finance the dream of a British billionaire who will be catering to fellow members of the 1 percent.