Tag: SpaceShipTwo

Space Angels Network Tours SoCal Space Companies

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Space Angels trip members watch the firing of an XCOR Lynx thruster. (Credit: Space Angels Network)

Space Angels trip members watch the firing of an XCOR Lynx thruster. (Credit: Space Angels Network)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – September 29, 2014 (Space Angels PR) – Earlier this month Space Angels Network hosted an exclusive Expedition to Southern California space companies, offering unique insights inside the private space industry. The companies, located in Los Angeles and at the Mojave Air & Spaceport, included SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Masten Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace, Whittinghill Aerospace and Firestar Technologies.

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Virgin Galactic Turns 10

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Virgin Galactic Announced
Virgin Galactic Press Release
Sept. 27, 2004

Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan made their announcement to the world’s media that Virgin Galactic was now in a position to commence a programme of work that would result in the world’s first affordable space tourist flights in 2 to 3 years time.

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Activity Seen in Mojave Bullpen as Ansari X Prize 10th Anniversary Looms

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SpaceShipTwo on a glide flight with WhiteKnightTwo above it. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

SpaceShipTwo on a glide flight with WhiteKnightTwo above it. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

UPDATE: I apparently misunderstood about the SpaceShipTwo flight that might be made this week. It would be another glide flight, not a powered one.  That could happen on Thursday or possibly Saturday. I apologize for the error.

Nearly four weeks after SpaceShipTwo’s most recent glide flight, there have been signs of activity here in Mojave and credible reports of an even more ambitious flight test coming in a week or so.

SpaceShipTwo was sighted outside on the ramp in front of Scaled Composites’ Hangar 75 on Monday morning. Engineers were doing some type of work or testing on the ship, which Scaled is building for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company.

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Grey Goose Becomes Official Vodka Supplier to Virgin Galactic

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Richard Branson, GREY GOOSE creator and Maître de Chai François Thibault, and George Whitesides toast to a new partnership. (Credit: Grey Goose)     Richard Branson, Grey Goose creator and Maître de Chai François Thibault, and George Whitesides toast to a new partnership. (Credit: Grey Goose)

Richard Branson, Grey Goose creator and Maître de Chai François Thibault, and George Whitesides toast to a new partnership. (Credit: Grey Goose)

HAMILTON, Bermuda, September 23, 2014 (Grey Goose/Virgin Galactic PR) — GREY GOOSE®, the world’s leading super premium vodka, announces today its official partnership with Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial passenger flight into space. Formed from a shared philosophy that extraordinary achievement comes from acting on your beliefs, the partnership was revealed this evening by Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, Global Category Director Premium White Spirits Ben Farlow and GREY GOOSE creator and Maître de Chai François Thibault, at the Rose Space Center and Planetarium in New York.

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Virgin Galactic Finds Patience Wearing Thin

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Richard Branson chats with David Letterman (Credit: CBS Television)

Richard Branson chats with David Letterman (Credit: CBS Television)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

While Richard Branson’s recent appearances on U.S. TV shows have undoubtedly helped him to sell many copies of his new book, The Virgin Way, the British billionaire unintentionally stirred up a hornet’s nest in the process.

On “The Late Show With David Letterman,” Branson revealed that SpaceShipTwo’s first commercial flight — which he will take with his son, Sam –  has been delayed from the end of this year until February or March 2015 at the earliest.

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Ansari X Prize 10th Anniversary Shindig Set for Mojave

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SpaceShipOne lands after its historic spaceflight on June 21, 2004. (Credit: Ian Kluft)

SpaceShipOne lands after its historic spaceflight on June 21, 2004. (Credit: Ian Kluft)

Burt Rutan, Paul Allen and Richard Branson are among those who will gather at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Oct. 4 to mark the 10th anniversary of SpaceShipOne winning the $10 million Anari X Prize, Parabolic Arc has learned.

X Prize Foundation Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis will preside over the invitation-only event, which is expected to draw hundreds of guests. The foundation sponsored the prize for the first privately-funded vehicle to fly into space twice in two weeks.

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Richard Branson’s Credibility Begins to Crumble

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branson_richardson_ss2

Richard Branson and then-Gov. Bill Richardson at Spaceport America in New Mexico in 2010. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Richard Branson is beginning to take a pounding in the British media as the 10th anniversary of his announcement of SpaceShipTwo approaches next Saturday.

When he announced SpaceShipTwo on Sept. 27, 2004, Branson promised to be flying in only three years. “Within five years, Virgin Galactic will have created over 3,000 new astronauts from many countries,” Branson said.

Commercial flights are now running more than 7 years behind schedule, with the first flight unlikely before next February and possibly much later. Now the British media are beginning to notice.

Why the only thing Branson has fired into space is his ego: 700 VIPs have paid £50m for tickets into orbit. But six years after the Virgin boss promised blast off, his space ship STILL isn’t ready
Daily Mail

Deep in the American West lies a vast, arid desert plain known as ‘Jordana de Muerto’, or ‘Journey of the Dead Man’. The desolate, sun-beaten expanse of deepest New Mexico is flat and deeply inhospitable.

Yet it is here, four hours’ drive from Albuquerque, that a security gate marks the entrance to perhaps the world’s most spectacular white elephant….

Talk your way in and you’ll find a huge futuristic glass, steel and concrete building designed by the superstar architect Sir Norman Foster.

No expense was spared. Indeed, it cost local taxpayers, who footed the entire bill, almost a quarter of a billion U.S. dollars.

Remarkably, every penny of this huge sum, every brick that was laid, and every tonne of publicly-funded concrete poured into the desert, has been devoted to a singular cause: putting Sir Richard Branson into space.

The $80m Virginauts stranded on Earth
London Sunday Times
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SIR RICHARD BRANSON is facing a backlash from aspiring astronauts who have booked a $250,000 seat on his space rocket after he revealed on an American television chat show the latest in a series of delays to the inaugural flight.

News of the latest setback to Branson’s commercial space programme came in an interview last week with David Letterman, the programme’s host, when the entrepreneur said he hoped to take the first commercial trip into space on Virgin Galactic in “February or March or next year”. He has previously said that he would be travelling into space by the end of this year.

The latest delay led to claims that the project was in crisis with some customers questioning whether the rocket would ever get into space.

Beam us up, Beardie!
Private Eye

WHEN will Sir Richard Branson launch himself into space? “What people forget is that it is rocket science,” he quipped in February. “It is complicated. But now every box has been ticked and we’re nearly there.” Er, how nearly? “We have a launch date this summer… By September, I hope to have gone to space.”

September is upon us, so presumably Beardie Lightyear is now aboard his rocket, preparing to slip the surly bonds of earth with a cry of “To infinity and beyond!” Or, on past form, perhaps not…

BREAKING NEWS: Jim Tighe to Depart Scaled Composites — UPDATED

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SpaceShipTwo on a glide flight with WhiteKnightTwo above it. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

SpaceShipTwo on a glide flight with WhiteKnightTwo above it. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Updated with statement from Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The chief aerodynamicist credited with designing SpaceShipTwo is departing the program on the eve of a crucial series of flight tests designed that Virgin Galactic hopes will lead to the start of commercial suborbital space tourism operations early next year.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Jim Tighe announced on Thursday that he would be leaving his position as chief aerodynamicist at Scaled Composites in two weeks for a job at an unnamed aerospace company. It is not clear what prompted the move.

Update: Reports indicate Tighe will be working for an aviation start-up based in Silicon Valley.

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Branson Says First Flight From New Mexico in February or March

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In this clip from “The Late Show With David Letterman,” Virgin Galactic Founder Richard Branson says he will be on the first flight of SpaceShipTwo from New Mexico in February or March 2015.

Mojave Watch: Suborbital Space Planes Prep for Flights

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Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Here’s some Saturday morning reading for all of you on suborbital vehicles now being assembled and tested here in Mojave:

  • P.J. O’Rourke has an entertaining account of his recent visit to visit XCOR, where he likes what he finds;
  • Private Eye takes a look at 15 years worth of unfulfilled promises by Richard Branson to send tourists to space; and,
  • Pat Hynes believes that regular flights of Branson’s SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico are, at best, about a year away.

Up to a Point: A ‘Space Corvette’ in Every Garage
The Daily Beast

“The Lynx’s 30-foot fuselage and 24-foot wingspan would fit in a McMansion garage. And it’s as prettier than anything a rich car collector has in there now.”

Beam us up, Beardie!
Private Eye

“WHEN will Sir Richard Branson launch himself into space? ‘What people forget is that it is rocket science,’ he quipped in February. ‘It is complicated. But now every box has been ticked and we’re nearly there.’ Er, how nearly? ‘We have a launch date this summer… By September, I hope to have gone to space.’

“September is upon us, so presumably Beardie Lightyear is now aboard his rocket, preparing to slip the surly bonds of earth with a cry of ‘To infinity and beyond!’ Or, on past form, perhaps not…”

Private space taking shape: Virgin Galactic delays not fatal
Las Cruces Bulletin

“Creating a time line based on past tests of the of its spaceliner, Hynes said a more realistic time line to expect seeing Spaceport America become a frequent destination for those who have $200,000 to $250,000 to spare for a thrill ride is, at best, a year away.

“’That means we can prepare,’ she said. ‘We have time.’”