Virgin Galactic

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Virgin Spaceship Veers Out of Control

Test flight turns dramatic for SpaceShipTwo as Spaceport opens

(Newser) - SpaceShipTwo's most recent test flight turned into a more extensive test than the private spacecraft's makers had bargained for. A malfunction sent the Virgin Galactic spacecraft briefly hurtling out of control—but then its three-person crew stabilized it for a safe landing, MSNBC reports. The glitch allowed Virgin...

NASA-Backed 'Space Taxi' to Fly Next Year

Dream Chaser's first test flight scheduled for summer 2012

(Newser) - With the space shuttles retired, NASA currently has to rely on the Russians to ferry astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. But it hopes to be able to hail a taxi soon. Dream Chaser, one of four "space taxis" being developed by private industry with...

First 'Spaceport' Coming to New Mexico

But project is late and getting expensive

(Newser) - Now that the shuttle's blasted off for the last time, attention is turning to the private space industry, and NPR has found an interesting piece of that puzzle: America’s first spaceport. The structure, under construction in a New Mexico desert, aims to be something like an airport for...

Space Tourism May Warm Planet

Rockets send soot into stratosphere

(Newser) - Space tourism may sound, well, out-of-this-world, but there is a good chance it will pollute this world, possibly contributing to global warming. As firms like Boeing prepare to launch space tourism businesses , a new study warns that the soot emitted by commercial rockets may get stuck in the stratosphere, notes...

Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Makes First Solo Flight

Private spacecraft on course to take paying passengers to space

(Newser) - The world's first manned commercial spacecraft has reached a major milestone. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo was released from the mothership and completed its first solo glide flight over the Mojave Desert yesterday, Wired reports. The craft, which is undergoing rigorous testing ahead of plans to carry paying customers to space and...

Space Plane Takes First Test Flight

Mothership and spaceship flew for 3 hours in 'captive carry' test

(Newser) - Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo took to the skies for the first time yesterday over the Mojave Desert, an important step toward passenger flights in space in 2011. “This is a momentous day,” says Burt Rutan, who built the craft and its mothership for Richard Branson’s company. The...

Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo
 Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo 

Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo

Billionaire unveils first tourist spacecraft

(Newser) - Virgin Galactic chief Richard Branson yesterday rolled out the vessel he hopes will soon take thousands of people into space. Some 300 clients who already paid a deposit on the entrepreneur's $200,000 space travel tickets were on hand as SpaceShipTwo was unveiled at a hangar in Mojave, Calif., CNN...

Branson's Aircraft: Beyond Space Tourism

Applications include satelites, drones and studying climate change

(Newser) - Though space tourism is an exciting feat in itself, it’s just the beginning of the possibilities for Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two, the Economist notes. The carbon-composite plane doubles as a spaceship’s first stage, and is capable of launching satellites, transporting replacement engines, and facilitating the study...

Branson Rolls Out Space Plane

Craft could make first commercial flight—at $200K per ticket—by decade's end

(Newser) - At a remote airfield in the Mojave Desert today, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson unveiled the flagship of his new venture, an aircraft that will carry the first passenger space rocket to its launch height of 48,000 feet, the Los Angeles Times reports. Tickets are going for $200,000-plus,...

Space Tourism Gets New 2-Seater

Calif. company is second aiming to take passengers to new heights

(Newser) - California's XCor Aerospace is jumping aboard the space-tourism bandwagon with a new rocket plane, the Los Angeles Times reports. For $100,000, one passenger at a time will be able to ride the Lynx to 200,000 feet and feel about 90 seconds of weightlessness. With flight tests beginning in...

Euro Jet Aims to Fly at Mach 5
Euro Jet Aims to Fly at Mach 5

Euro Jet Aims to Fly at Mach 5

Day trips to Australia in Europe's future

(Newser) - A futuristic hypersonic passenger plane that could carry 300 passengers at five times the speed of sound—more than 3,000 mph—is already on the drawing board in Britain. The A2, whose design is funded by the European Space Agency, could be in the air in 25 years if...

Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo
Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo

Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo

Double-hulled plane will carry rocket to high altitude

(Newser) - Richard Branson has unveiled the ship that will carry paying passengers to space. Slightly different from its original prototype, SpaceShipTwo will be carried to high altitude by a double-hulled plane called White Knight, where the rocket will then separate and launch. Branson's Virgin Galactic startup hopes to start test flights...

3 Dead in Space Center Blast
3 Dead in Space Center Blast

3 Dead in Space Center Blast

(Newser) - A third person has died from injuries suffered in an explosion at a Mojave Desert airport where part of billionaire Richard Branson's private space program is being developed, AP reports. The blast occurred during testing of a nitrous oxide propellant system for a space tourism vehicle. Three people were hospitalized,...

Mojave Spaceport Blast Kills 2
Mojave Spaceport
Blast Kills 2

Mojave Spaceport Blast Kills 2

Four others hurt at company behind first manned rocket

(Newser) - An explosion killed at least two people at a remote desert plant attempting to develop billionaire Richard Branson's space tourism program. The blast at Mojave Air and Space Port was in part of the facility where SpaceShipTwo is being built for Virgin Galactic—to be used for $200,000 trips...

Citizens Book Tickets to Moon
Citizens Book Tickets to Moon

Citizens Book Tickets to Moon

Would-be astronauts fund growth industry

(Newser) - A citizen spaceflight company has two passengers willing to pay $100 million each for a flight around the moon. Tickets aboard Virgin’s future suborbital flights are flying out the door. The civilian aeronautics industry finds itself better funded every day, as would-be astronauts and  backers alike are rushing to...

Stephen Hawking Test-Drives Zero Gravity

(Newser) - Paralyzed super-physicist Stephen Hawking completed a zero-gravity flight off the Florida coast yesterday—floating weightless and free of his wheelchair for 25-second busts. "It was amazing,"  Hawking said after the flight. "Space, here I come!" The American firm normally charges $3,750 for the experience,...

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