Excellent Video

Great images from the latest SpaceShipTwo flight.

1-10-14 flight    image:Virgin Galactic

1-10-14 flight click to enlarge
image:Virgin Galactic

1-10-14 flight image:Virgin Galactic

1-10-14 flight click to enlarge
image:Virgin Galactic

Read more here

I have been waiting for good video before posting on SpaceShipTwo’s 20 second burn test flight to an altitude of 69000 feet.

Here is some excellent video from the Tail-cam.

Yesterday Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo made a powered flight over the Mojave dessert. After being carried to altitude by WhiteKnightTwo it fired up the rocket engines for about 16 seconds and broke the sound barrier.
The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date,” said Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson, who was on the ground in Mojave to witness the occasion. “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.” – Virgin Galactic

official press release here


“History continues to be made in the skies above the Mojave Desert. Hot on the heels of last week’s nitrous venting and feather test, SpaceShipTwo achieved another successful first today with a spectacular “Cold Flow” flight. The test objectives were successfully met, advancing another important step towards powered flight.”

Read the entire story at Virgin Galactic

LauncherOne, Virgin Galactic’s new satellite launching system is poised to enter the new commercial payload sector as an affordable alternative.

“Virgin Galactic’s goal is to revolutionize the way we get to space,” Branson said. “I’m immensely proud of what we have already achieved as we draw near to regular suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo. Now, LauncherOne is bringing the price of satellite launch into the realm of affordability for innovators everywhere, from start-ups and schools to established companies and national space agencies. It will be a critical new tool for the global research community, enabling us all to learn about our home planet more quickly and affordably.” -Virgin Galactic

It seems that Virgin Galactic is targeting launching small satellites.

“Small satellite launch is an area ripe for disruption,” said Virgin Galactic CEOGeorge Whitesides. “Miniaturized satellite components and constrained budgets are driving commercial clients, academic users and government agencies all to clamor for an affordable, dedicated launch vehicle. Now, thanks to aabar’s investment, our existing capabilities, and the expert team we’ve already assembled, we’re prepared to fill that void by bringing LauncherOne to market.”-Virgin Galactic

LauncherOne Video:


LauncerOne Web page

According to Richard Branson’s blog , Spaceport America officially opens today.

“The first astronauts to join us on Virgin Galactic flights will be there with us, along with our Virgin Money Australia and #spacecheetah competition winners.It promises to be a momentous occasion and another big step for our great space adventure.” – Richard Branson

Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, will serve as headquarters for Virgin Galactic operations. Located in New Mexico the spaceport is owned by New Mexico. Virgin Galactic has a 20 year lease on the facilities. The concrete runway is 200 feet wide by 10,000 feet long — nearly two miles!

Spaceport America-Terminal Hanger Facility - photo credit:Spaceport America click to enlarge

“Virgin Galactic’s signed contract with the Southwest Research Institute is the first such agreement to fly scientists into space (over 100 kilometers or 328,000 feet above the Earth), enabling valuable microgravity, biology, climate and astronomy research.As part of the contract announced today, SwRI has made full deposits for two researchers to fly on Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft, with the intent to make similar arrangements for an additional six seats for a total value of $1.6m. As well as flying its own researchers, who will carry scientific experiments developed by its in-house technical staff, SwRI also aims to assist American researchers who do not have direct spaceflight experience to develop and fly their payloads and personnel on suborbital missions.” – Virgin Galactic

Full Press Release here

Photo credit: Mark Greenberg

UPHAM, NM – The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) today dedicated the nearly two-mile long “Governor Bill RIchardson Spaceway” at Spaceport America, representing significant progress toward launching commercial customers into space from the desert of New Mexico. Governor Bill Richardson, Sir Richard Branson and approximately 30 of more than 380 Virgin Galactic future astronauts attended the event along with guests from around the world and watched a flyover and landing by Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo, in a captive carry with SpaceShipTwo.

“We are celebrating the world’s first spaceway at the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport,” said Governor Richardson. “New Mexico is not only helping to launch the commercial spaceflight industry, but we are launching new jobs and opportunities for the people of southern New Mexico. Today marks a significant milestone on our historic and exciting journey.”

The nearly two-mile long runway was officially named the “Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway” at the event, and Governor Richardson joined Sir Richard in placing their handprints in clay as a permanent commemoration of the historic day.NMSA Chairman Ben Woods said the board of the NMSA had met early today to formally and unanimously approve the name of the spaceway.  READ MORE HERE

from Virgin Galactic

“Virgin Galactic, the US based and regulated Space Tourism Company, is delighted to announce the appointment of George T. Whitesides as its first Chief Executive Officer. In this role, Whitesides will guide the business through its transition from a development project to a commercially operational business.

Whitesides joins Virgin Galactic from his recent role as Chief of Staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At NASA, Whitesides was responsible for working to implement the NASA Administrator’s policy agenda and staffing decisions.” – Virgin Galactic press release

Read entire release here

Whitesides was Executive Director of the National Space Scociety from 2004 to 2008.

He also is co-creator of Yuri’s night. One of my favorite space influenced ocassions.

Virgin Galactic announced today that its commercial manned spaceship, VSS Enterprise, this morning successfully completed its first “captive carry” test flight, taking off at 07.05 am (PST) from Mojave Air and Spaceport, California.

VSS Enterprise takeoff

The VSS Enterprise was carried to an altitude of 45000 ft by the WhiteKnight2. The flight lasted 2 hours and 54 minutes.

“The VSS Enterprise test flight programme will continue though 2010 and 2011, progressing from captive carry to independent glide and then powered flight, prior to the start of commercial operations.” -Virgin Galactic

WhiteKnight2 with VSS Enterprise

WhiteKnight2 carries VSS Enterprise

Download the PDF document Galactic at a Glance for more info on the Virgin Galactic program

Morning after winds - photo courtesy of Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic Press Release – “At the start of a dramatic week of weather right across the US, hurricane force winds hit Mojave Air and Spaceport CA on the evening of Monday 7th December, tearing apart a specially created site which had been used throughout the day to house guests attending the first roll out of Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship.

Along with Sir Richard Branson and spaceship designer Burt Rutan, over 800 press, future astronauts and VIP guests including Governors Bill Richardson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Victoria Principal had gathered in the desert to witness the roll out of the world’s first commercial manned spaceship. Standing at the end of the runway, guests braved gale force winds andstormy weather, to see SpaceShipTwo for the first time. The spaceship was carried down the runway as snow fell, by her mothership, VMS Eve, to a spectacular display of lights and music.

A few hours later as guests celebrated, an evacuation was called by local officials who had become aware of the approaching storm. Sir Richard Branson said: “It was absolutely incredible, the roll out of the spaceship had been fantastic and everybody was filled with terrific energy. We were all in the tents when the evacuation was called. 20 minutes after the last of the 800 guests had been coached away, the main 200ft tent literally took off”. Gusts were reported of up to 116MPH, and local residents commented that the Mojave area had not experienced such a combination of high winds, rain and freezing temperatures for over two decades. Both spaceship and mothership were unscathed thanks to the rapid action of the crew as were all guests thanks to an efficient evacuation to waiting buses.
Sir Richard Branson added: “We were fully expecting to be blown away by our beautiful new spaceship but got a little more than we bargained for!”      –
Virgin Galactic

Dramatic Video of the event

Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo under WhiteKnightTwo

“Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, today reveal SS2 to the public for the first time since construction of the world’s first manned commercial spaceship began in 2007. SS2 has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space after test programming and all required U.S. government licensing has been completed.”
-Virgin Galactic

Book your flight today

SS1 comparison to SS2

Click to Enlarge

Passenger area on SS2

Passenger area on SS2


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