Tag: SpaceShipTwo

WhiteKnightTwo Flies at Spaceport America

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SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NMSA PR) — Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America Operations teams welcomed WhiteKnightTwo back to the clear blue skies of New Mexico on Monday.

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Land Rover – Virgin Galactic Promotional Video

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Video Caption: Photographer and adventurer Jimmy Chin joined Land Rover in the Mojave Desert to witness the reveal of our global partner Virgin Galactic’s new VSS Unity. After capturing the moment, Jimmy embarked on the off-road adventure of a lifetime in a Range Rover Autobiography. In this video, he reflects on what it takes to explore unchartered territory, to venture into the unknown and to truly go Above and Beyond.

Find out more about our proud partnership with Virgin Galactic: http://www.landrover.com/experiences/…

 

Boldly Going Where 14 Men Have Gone Before

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For nearly a dozen years, Virgin Galactic has used the number of individuals who have flown into space as a target to shoot for once the company began suborbital space tourism service. Virgin promised to double the number, which was around 500 when the company launched in 2004, within the first year of operation. That year was originally targeted for 2007 in the confident days after the success of SpaceShipOne.

That goal has long since faded away, and it’s unlikely Virgin will double the number of space travelers during the first year. In any event, the number of space travelers cited by Virgin has always been a bit misleading. The company’s well heeled customers, who are paying upwards of $250,000 per flight, will actually be joining a much more elite group on their suborbital flights.

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Boom Boasts Impressive List of Personnel

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Supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom)

Supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom)

Supersonic jetliner developer Boom has an impressive leadership team that includes veterans of Gulfstream, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Scaled Composites and other companies. The programs they have worked on include the 787, SpaceShipTwo, F-35 and and X-47A.

The company’s advisory board includes two former officials from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

Brief biographies of the leadership team and advisory board members taken from Boom’s website follow.

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So Exactly How Safe Will SpaceShipTwo Be?

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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.

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Virgin Galactic Says Bookings on SpaceShipTwo Have Recovered

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George Whitesides

George Whitesides

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides was in Abu Dhabi this week for a space conference, where he gave an update on the company’s progress since the October 2014 that destroyed the first SpaceShipTwo and killed pilot Mike Alsbury.

About 25 of 700 fee-paying clients withdrew from the program after the crash in the Mojave Desert in California caused it to be put on hold just months before the first commercial flight, Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer George Whitesides said Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.

“We had a little dip right after the accident, but honestly we’re almost all the way back now,” Whitesides said at a conference organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. “It’s looking very good. There’s a global desire to experience space.”

Virgin Galactic said it had “more than 700 Future Astronauts” signed up as of April 2014. In media appearances in the months before the accident, Branson put the number of tickets sold at or close to 800.

Whitesides also said that Virgin Galactic’s partner, Aabar Investments, might increase its stake in the company.

When asked whether Aabar is planning to increase or decrease their stake in the company, he said they had meetings with their representatives and said the responses had been positive.

In 2009, Aabar paid $280 million for a 31.8 percent stake in Virgin Galactic. The government-owned sovereign wealth fund upped its stake to 37.8 percent with an additional investment of $110 million in 2011.

Commercial Human Spaceflight Industry Lightly Regulated

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faa_logoPart 4 of 6

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

U.S. regulations for commercial human spaceflight give the wide latitude to develop and fly their launch systems while providing substantial protections about being sued for injuries and deaths resulting from accidents. What follows is is a brief summary of the provisions, most of which have been in place since December 2004.
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Prizes, Technology and Safety

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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.

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New Mojave Air & Space Port Video

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Video Caption: Test Pilots Face The Unknown At Mojave Air & Space Port

Early Aviation & the Safety of Space Tourism

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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.

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Video: Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai Backs Virgin Galactic Space Tourism

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Video Caption: Malala welcomes Virgin Spaceship Unity and takes the opportunity to discuss the importance of STEM education and the role of women in science and engineering.

Text of Stephen Hawking’s Message at SpaceShipTwo Roll Out

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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.

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Video: Virgin Galactic Rolls Out Second SpaceShipTwo

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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

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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.”
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Ten Years Ago Burt Rutan Predicted an Amazing Future in Space

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TED Conference
Monterey, Calif.
February 2006

Wondering how far we’ve come in the last decade? Well, here’s an oldie but a goodie from the Ted archives.