Virgin Galactic, TSC Donate SpaceShipTwo Rocket Motor to Smithsonian

SpaceShipTwo motor donated to the National Air & Space Museum. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WASHINGTON, 7 Feb 2019 (Virgin Galactic PR) — Richard Branson joined Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company (TSC) staff and guests today at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, to announce that the hybrid rocket motor which powered SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, to space for the first time on December 13th last year, has been donated to the museum. The rocket motor was unveiled during the ceremony and will be exhibited in the museum’s planned, new commercial space flight gallery to be called ‘Future of Spaceflight.’

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The Adventures of SpaceShipTwo: Inverted Flight, Wonky Gyros & an Impatient Billionaire

SpaceShipTwo glides to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Nicholas Schmidle has an interesting profile of Virgin Galactic test pilot Mark Stucky in the New Yorker that sheds some light on what’s been going on at Richard Branson’s space company. I’ve excerpted some interesting passages below.

If you’ve been watching the videos of  SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity‘s first three powered flights and thinking to yourself, Gee, it looks like that thing really wants to roll…well, you’d be right. Here’s an account of the first flight on April 5.
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Text of Stephen Hawking’s Message at SpaceShipTwo Roll Out

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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Lady Gaga vs. Sarah Brightman: Who Will be First (Professional) Musician to Sing in Space?

sarah_brightmanThe battle of singing space divas is on!

In this corner, British soprano Sarah Brightman, who is paying $52 million to fly to the International Space Station in September 2015.

And in the other corner, the always interesting and frequently controversial Lady Gaga, scheduled to blast into space aboard Richard Branson’s SpaceShipTwo as part of the Zero G Colony music festival in early 2015.

Wait? What? How could Brightman get there first if Gaga is flying earlier?

Good question.

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XCOR Begins Series on Lynx Build

Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)
Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

XCOR has begun a series of posts on its blog that will allow readers to follow the building and testing of the Lynx Mark 1 space plane.

We would like to share that experience with you, and share what excites and motivates our team in developing Lynx. We will bring you the story daily, a piece at a time, all the way through the flight test program to first commercial flight. Just stay here to follow along. It will be a marathon, not a sprint. But it will be a marathon at Mach speed!

What you will see, hear and feel over the coming year is nothing less than the birth of a spacecraft told by the people who are that craft.

You can follow along here.

 

The Art of Citizen Space Exploration Exhibit Comes to Lancaster

Free_Enterprise_Art_Lancaster

For anyone who missed this art exhibit when it was down in Riverside, you can now catch it at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster starting on Saturday.

August 3, 2013 – October 13, 2013
First Floor
| Main Gallery

Public reception Saturday, August 3, 4-6pm.

Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration is the first contemporary art exhibition in the U.S. to present an international array of artists and organizations who are exploring the potential democratization of space exploration and the intersection between artistic production and civilian space travel. The possibility of fulfilling the human dream to fly into space has been encouraged by a major political and cultural shift away from state-sponsored space activities—which are controlled by agencies such as NASA in the USA, ESA in Europe, and RKA in Russia —towards a private enterprise model. The presentation of Free Enterprise at MOAH is a scaled down version from its original presentation at UCR ARTSblock, the originator of the exhibition. Curated by Tyler Stallings and Marko Peljhan.

A variety of media will be represented: drawing, photography, video, sculpture, painting, and artifacts by: The Arts Catalyst (London, U.K.), Lowry Burgess (Pittsburgh, PA), Center for Land Use Interpretation (Culver City, CA), Richard Clar (Paris/Los Angeles), Skeith De Wine (Santa Ana, CA), Kitsou Dubois (Paris), Final Frontier Design (New York), MIR – Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research (international participants), Forrest Myers (New York), Carrie Paterson (Los Angeles), Connie Samaras (Los Angeles), and XCOR Aerospace, Inc. (Mojave, CA).