Tag: virgin galactic

New Virgin Galactic PR Approach Already Sunk

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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)

Virgin Galactic’s new public relations strategy has been torpedoed less than two weeks after it was publicly rolled out.

On March 31, NBC New’s Alan Boyle wrote about the company’s new approach to managing expectations:

“…there’s one lesson they’re willing to share: Don’t say too much about what you’re planning to do before you do it.

Before the accident, company founder Richard Branson issued statements saying SpaceShipTwo would fly paying passengers to the edge of space within one to three years — whether that translated into 2007, or 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015.

“Sometimes people misinterpreted those as firm dates or promises,” said Will Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic’s vice president for projects, “so we don’t want to repeat that mistake.”

It seems like the boss didn’t get the memo about the new strategy. Following a visit to Mojave on Thursday, Branson issued yet another prediction.

“There is going to be about a one-year delay,” he told Bloomberg Television, adding the team was working “day and night” on the next SpaceShipTwo.

A year’s delay from what point was not clear. If it’s from the time of the accident last Oct. 31, that would put the first commercial flight toward the end of the first quarter of 2016. Prior to the crash, Branson was predicting that first flight in the first quarter of this year.

The new timeline doesn’t appear to be very credible. Following the loss of SpaceShipTwo, officials had predicted they would have the second spacecraft completed within about six months. With that deadline now approaching, they are now talking about having the new SpaceShipTwo ready for ground tests by the end of the year.

Branson Visits Mojave

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Richard Branson was in Mojave this morning to visit the troops over at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company. Apparently, work on the second SpaceShipTwo has “advanced tremendously” and the shop floor is buzzing.

After the crash in October, Virgin Galactic said it would have the second spaceship completed in five or six months. That would be about now. They don’t appear to be anywhere close to that goal; they’re now talking about have the spaceship ready for ground testing by the end of the year.

In lieu of a completed spaceship, a visit by Branson with photos and the appropriate expressions that all is going well is the next best thing.

Mojave Returns to Normal as Virgin Galactic Gets Back “On Track”

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Credit: Virgin Galactic

Credit: Virgin Galactic

Following the loss of SpaceShipTwo on Halloween, Richard Branson promised Virgin Galactic would redouble its efforts to have the second SpaceShipTwo completed and start testing by April.

Now that April has arrived, NBC News’ Alan Boyle — whose parent company has a multi-platform promotional deal with Virgin — has checked in to see how things are progressing. Apparently, not very rapidly.

Continue reading ‘Mojave Returns to Normal as Virgin Galactic Gets Back “On Track”’

Virgin Galactic Releases New Video, Gets Visit From Electric Race Car

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Video Caption: An introduction to our Spaceship Propulsion Team, narrated by Propulsion Program Manager, Jarret Morton, including behind the scenes shots of our manufacturing facilities.

Editor’s Note: Jarret describes Virgin’s hybrid propulsion system as “game changing.” I don’t know about that. Musk, XCOR, et.al., are moving toward reusable liquid bi-props that promise to bring down launch costs. Virgin has a reusable ship whose engine must be replaced after every flight. That’s very costly.

Morton was nominated by his peers as one of the Virgin Stars of the Year for 2013. The honor included a trip to a big party at the Branson mansion in England.

Editor’s Note: Branson has strongly hinted that he plans to use his electric race cars as a foundation to challenge fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors. He claims to have teams working on the technology.

This generated a lot of headlines, as most pronouncements involving Branson and Musk do. It’s a pretty tall order, especially given Tesla’s massive head start. We’ll see what — if anything — comes of it.

BBC Asks: Should the Poor Fund Space Travel on Virgin Galactic?

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The dream of space tourism has captured the imagination of many, including the British billionaire Sir Richard Branson. He wants to to pioneer commercial space flight but his aspirations have run into trouble in the deserts of New Mexico. Politicians there aren’t happy that local taxpayers are helping to fund the space port and, so far, the job opportunities promised, have not materialised. Everything’s on hold while Virgin Galactic builds a new spaceship and as Matt Wells reports from the state capital Santa Fe, the debate is raging.

(Photo: A security guard mans the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft carrier outside the Spaceport American Spaceport America Terminal Hangar Facility in New Mexico. Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

TMRO Video With Will Pomerantz About LauncherOne

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Video Caption:
  This week we bring on William Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic to talk about LauncherOne and what is happening with their small payload launching system.

In Space News we have:

* Atlas V Launches MMS Satellites
* QM-1 Solid Motor test firing
* Rosetta listening for Philae
* Curiosity rover back in action
* Lockheed’s CRS-2 Proposal
* Total Solar Eclipse on March 20th
* World Record Rocket

TMRO is a crowd funded show. If you like this episode consider contributing to help us to continue to improve. Head over to http://www.patreon.com/tmro for information, goals and reward levels.

Anderson Updates Dona Ana County Officials on Spaceport America

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Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) Executive Director Christine Anderson briefed Dona Ana C0unty officials on the status of Spaceport America on Tuesday.

Anderson told commissioners that anchor tenant Virgin Galactic has talked about beginning flight tests on its second SpaceShipTwo vehicle this year, ” so “perhaps” the company will be able to begin commercial flights from Spaceport America in 2016.

Continue reading ‘Anderson Updates Dona Ana County Officials on Spaceport America’

New Book to Cover Virgin Galactic’s First Decade

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virgin_galactic_10_years_bookErik Seedhouse has a new book coming out later this month about Virgin Galactic. A description from the book’s Amazon.com page:

Thirty years ago when Sir Richard Branson called up Boeing and asked if they had a spare 747, few would have predicted the brash entrepreneur would so radically transform the placid business of air travel. But today, Branson flies airlines on six continents, employs hundreds of jets and, in 2014, was predicting that his spaceship company – Virgin Galactic – would soon open the space frontier to commercial astronauts, payload specialists, scientists and space tourists. With more than 600 seats sold at $250,000 each, what started off as a dream to send people just for the excitement to look back and marvel at Earth, was on the cusp of finally being turned into a business.

Then, on October 21, 2014, tragedy struck. SpaceShipTwo was on its most ambitious test flight to date. Seconds after firing its engine, Virgin Galactic’s spaceship was breaking through the sound barrier. In just the three seconds that it took for the vehicle to climb from Mach 0.94 to Mach 1.02, co-pilot Mike Alsbury made what many close to the event believe was a fatal mistake that led to his death and the disintegration of SpaceShipTwo. Miraculously, the pilot, Peter Siebold, survived the 16-km fall back to Earth.

Soon after the event Branson vowed to continue his space tourism venture in spite of this. Already a second SpaceShipTwo is being built, and ticket-holders eagerly await the day when Virgin Galactic offers quick, routine and affordable access to the edge of space. This book explains the hurdles Virgin Galactic had and still has to overcome en route to developing suborbital space travel as a profitable economic entity, and describes the missions that will be flown on board SpaceShipTwo Mk II, including high-altitude science studies, astronomy, life sciences, and microgravity physics.

Virgin Galactic Holds Jobs Fair in Long Beach

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Virtuoso Chief in Australia Promoting SpaceShipTwo Ticket Sales

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Video Caption: Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch appears on Australia’s Mornings to discuss the Virgin Galactic space tourism project – what to expect, when to expect it, and why removing yourself from your comfort zone is so important.