One week before Virgin Galactic is expected to report another large quarterly loss, the company’s WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve took to the skies on Thursday over Spaceport America for the first time since June 25.
The flight was the first of four tests designed to pave the way for Virgin Galactic to begin commercial SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism flights with VSS Unity during the first quarter of next year.
Mojave CA, May 16, 2012 (XCOR PR): XCOR Aerospace today announced the grand prize winner of a trip aboard the Lynx Mark I suborbital launch vehicle. XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson made the announcement at the Spacecraft Technology Expo (STE) in Los Angeles, CA.
“About two months ago, we were at an event called the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, where together with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) we gave away a suborbital flight,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson. “We had a winner, and we had a backup. Unfortunately our main winner was unable to accept the prize. Our backup winner, Jennifer Brisco, is now the official recipient of the suborbital flight.”
Rocketplane Global, which went under two years ago, is out of bankruptcy and searching for about $100 million in investment to build its six-passenger suborbital space vehicle.
Speaking at the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palo Alto, Calif., Vice President of Business Development Chuck Lauer said the firm came out of bankruptcy last year under a new Wisconsin-based holding company called Space Assets, LLC. Original backer George French is involved in the new venture.
A new quarterly, New Space Magazine , has launched. It includes an article from Philip A. Janquart titled, “Space Tourism: Will it go far or fizzle out?” in which I’m quoted extensively. Some excerpts:
â€œVirgin has a lot of money and prestige behind it,â€ Messier told NewSpace Magazine. â€œThey are, kind of, the Goliath of the industry right now. They just completed another test flight. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see how fast they can move with the aggressive schedule they have. One question is their engine: they still need to do a lot of testing.â€
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation and its member organizations, including five providers of commercial reusable suborbital spaceflight services, supports the kind of scientific inquiry that led to the recent Ross et al. Geophysical Research Letters paper titled, â€œPotential Climate Impact of Black Carbon Emitted by Rockets.â€ The commercial spaceflight sector aspires to good environmental stewardship.
Conference: The Regulation of Suborbital Flights in the European Context Thursday 16 September 2010
International Institute of Air & Space Law University of Leiden Netherlands
The symposium, which be held on 16 September 2010 in Leiden,Â will focus on the legal issues arising from this new era of human spaceflight by analyzing the perspectives of various stakeholders, and will attempt to formulate some recommendations for its efficient and adequate regulation.
Scaled Composites has completed the first series of tests on the rocket motor for the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, clearing a major milestone toward testing of the suborbital tourism vehicle, Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn said on Thursday.
All will get taste of oasis for space: Desert launches will benefit KSC Florida Today
Florida’s Space Coast will lament the end of the shuttle program and the loss of thousands of great jobs. But 2010 could mark the start of one of the most exciting periods in the history of human spaceflight. Gigantic leaps forward in our ability to fly people in space are coming, and they’re coming fast.
JAA said Thursday’s meeting was another step in the process of bringing commercial space flights to Cecil Field. Officials were able to get input from the public, much of which was opposed plans to bring the Navy back to Cecil Field a few years ago.
However, residents who live nearby showed up at the meeting with a different perspective on Cecil Field becoming a spaceport.
The Guardian’s Leo Hickman raises some interesting questions about Virgin Galactic’s environmental claims:
The company says that it has built a “clean spaceship” and that the “CO2 emissions per passenger on a spaceflight will be equivalent to approximately 60% of a per passenger return commercial London/New York flight”.
It’s hard to see how that calculation stacks up but Virgin has yet to break down these figures so we have no real way of knowing.
Commercial space travel: what it might feel like Sunday Star Times
It’s a good thing Ron Stroeven is not worried about having to wait until SpaceShipTwo is pronounced fit to take paying guests to experience the trip into space just as the test pilots have. It could be 2010, when the flamboyant founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, will turn 60. But it will probably be 2011. The company expects to do up to 18 months of test flights before taking people into space. White Knight Two made its debut flight just before Christmas last year.
Attention earthlings: more spaceports coming soon HotelierMiddleEast.com
Whitehorn said he envisaged the price of the ticket decreasing once the concept became more popular and more spacecraft had been built.
â€œIn five years we will get the price halved [to $100,000],â€ he said. â€œIf you look at it, when you get into more of a mass market, itâ€™s actually very easy to expand things from there. By this time we will have done a lot of flights.â€
â€œItâ€™s not going to be as safe as travelling on a Boeing 747 because itâ€™s space travel, but itâ€™s so much safer than anything done in space before,â€ he said. â€œI would expect it to be on par with travelling in a light aircraft, which is pretty safe.â€
Officials said they’re looking to employ about 475 people to build the project and they want to hire New Mexicans.
“There will be road contractors, fencing, electrical contractors — there will be 14 general contractors on the job site,” said construction manager John Roberts. A call for bids will be advertised next week. Contractors will then have 30 days to submit their bid for the work.