Tag Archives | Virgin Galactic

World’s First Space Tourism Port Nears Completion In New Mexico

Is sending rich people into space the future of our economy, or a disaster in the making? The $200 billion Spaceport in the New Mexican desert is ready to open its doors, although the first voyage from Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has been pushed back for another year at least. The Herald-Sun writes:

New Mexico Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson says it will be New Mexico’s Sydney Opera House. Virgin Galactic Chairman Richard Branson has hinted it will host the first of his new brand of lifestyle hotels. And the eclectic hot springs town of Truth or Consequences has been anxiously awaiting all the economic development the $200 billion project is supposed to bring to this largely rural part of southern New Mexico.

Currently, the Spaceport can count on two rocket companies that send vertical payloads into space and Virgin Galactic, the Branson space tourism venture that says it has signed up more than 500 wealthy adventurers for $US200,000 ($192,000)-per-person spaceflights.

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Virgin Galactic Posts Help Wanted For Astronauts

Richard Branson Justin Hyde writes for Jalopink:

With NASA mothballing shuttles, and the Soviets auctioning seats on Soyuz capsules for millions of rubles, how are spunky American pilots supposed to prove they have the right stuff? By answering a want ad for astronauts from Richard Branson.

The crazy billionaire’s space tourism business, Virgin Galactic, has posted openings for “pilot-astronauts” to begin work in June. Virgin Galactic is still doing test flights of its Burt Ruttan-designed ships, but expects to launch the first “customer-astronauts” in two years from its spaceport in New Mexico, for the everyday low price of $200,000.

Virgin Galactic wants pilot-astronauts to have a minimum of 3,000 hours of flight experience in a variety of aircraft and help set the rules for future recruits. The other big hurdle? “Prior spaceflight experience is an advantage.”

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Virgin Galactic May Be Selling Tickets By Autumn

Photo: SpaceShipTwo under the Mothership WhiteKnight2 in Mojave, CA. Photo from Virgin Galactic/Mark Greenberg

Photo: SpaceShipTwo under the Mothership WhiteKnight2 in Mojave, CA. Photo from Virgin Galactic/Mark Greenberg

Virgin Galactic will offer suborbital rides if the SpaceShipTwo spaceliner is approved after tests. Virgin Galactic will be the first program that will allow private tourists to take a scenic trip to see the darkness of space. The first full-crewed flight proved successful on July 15, with more tests to follow, there is a confident possibility for the first commercial tour to be this fall. MSNBC reports:

A private spaceship built to launch space tourists on suborbital joyrides could by flying on its own by this fall, Space.com has learned.

The SpaceShiftTwo spacecraft VSS Enterprise, which the space tourism company Virgin Galactic has been flying on test flights attached to a huge mothership, could make its first drop flights over California’s Mojave Desert for glide and landing tests.

“There’s a reasonable possibility that we could see the first drop flight in the fall, but as always, everything is predicated on thoroughness and safety,” Virgin Galactic’s commercial director Stephen Attenborough told Space.com in an e-mail.

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Virgin Galactic Space Program Launched In Mojave Desert

Sarah Gordon for the Daily Mail:

Sir Richard Branson’s first commercial spacecraft is finally being unveiled today after five years of top secret construction.

Potential space tourists will have the chance to lay eyes on the long-awaited SpaceShipTwo created by Virgin Galactic, Branson’s own space programme. Paid-up passengers and VIPs have been promised a ‘theatrical unveiling’ in the Mojave Desert in California and a cocktail party to celebrate the groundbreaking event.

Peter Cheney, a 63-year-old future passenger who was among the first enthusiasts to sign up for a Virgin Galactic experience said: “We’ve all been patiently waiting to see exactly what the vehicle is going to look like. It would be nice to see it in the flesh.”

Created by Burt Rutan, a famed aviation designer, the craft is based on his prototype SpaceShipOne which won a $10million prize in 2004 for being the frist privately-manned craft to reach space…

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