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NBC to televise first Virgin Galactic commercial flight

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November 10, 2013

VSS Enterprise during its recent supersonic test flight

VSS Enterprise during its recent supersonic test flight

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NBCUniversal has signed an exclusive partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to televise the space tourism company's first commercial passenger flight. Expected to take place next August, the flight will covered in a special three-hour edition of the US NBC network's Today program. Aboard the VSS Enterprise, will be Sir Richard, age 63, and his children, Holly, 31, and Sam, 28. The other passengers and crew have not yet been named.

NBCUniversal will track the final development of the Enterprise over the coming months and the flight itself will be broadcast and streamed across multiple NBCUniversal platforms, including MSNBC, CNBC, SYFY, the Weather Channel and NBCNews.com. There will also be a primetime special on NBC the night before the launch.

“Without a doubt, Sir Richard and his children taking the first commercial flight into space will go down in history as one of the most memorable events on television,” says Sharon Scott, President and General Manager, Peacock Productions. “Through NBCUniversal’s multiple platforms and overseas network partners, viewers from around the world will get to experience this where were you moment; we’re extremely honored to chronicle Sir Richard’s journey and live launch into space.”

Sir Richard and his daughter Holly inspecting VSS Enterprise
Sir Richard and his daughter Holly inspecting VSS Enterprise

“Virgin Galactic is thrilled that NBCUniversal will join us on our exciting first journey to space,” says Sir Richard. “In this first chapter of commercial space travel, we will help make space accessible and inspire countless more people to join us in the pursuit of space exploration and science innovation.”

Though the first flight is scheduled for August, flight testing may cause delays. "They are hoping for August, but it's completely engineering-driven," Says Scott. "There's no guarantee for that. August is the desire."

If all goes according to schedule, the VSS Enterprise will take off from Galactic’s terminal at Spaceport America in New Mexico slung beneath the WhiteKnightTwo mothership named VMS Eve. After being dropped by the mothership at 50,000 ft, VSS Enterprise will fire its hybrid rocket motor and carry its six passengers and two crew to an altitude of 68 mi (110 km) on a suborbital trajectory.

Once in space, the passengers will be free to leave their seats to enjoy several minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth in an unpowered glide.

The price of the trip is US$250,000 per person, and Virgin Galactic says it has already accepted roughly US$80 million in deposits from about 640 customers.

Sources: Virgin Galactic, NBCUniversal

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
9 Comments

Truly inspiring, really hope it's a huge success.

Paul Adams
11th November, 2013 @ 12:23 am PST

What a monumental step towards a new era of space exploration. Breaking the strangle hold of the elitist NASA and the gov by finally privatizing space flight. Best wishes to Sir Richard and the other companies involved in privatizing space travel.

Smitty Jl
11th November, 2013 @ 08:12 am PST

Ok so space is generally accepted at 62 miles above sea level and they are suppose to go to 68 miles up. I guess it will be better than nothing if you have $250K.

thoma7329
11th November, 2013 @ 03:47 pm PST

Yes, yes, yes. The first private step into space. I wish I were just being born.

Don Duncan
11th November, 2013 @ 04:27 pm PST

Now this will kick Commercial Manned Space into High Gear

Stephen N Russell
11th November, 2013 @ 05:15 pm PST

This is truly amazing, and will certainly be historic. but you will only have a few minutes in space? so much for a weekend honey-moon.

Schuyler19
11th November, 2013 @ 05:26 pm PST

It seems that there is already a need for another couple of such companies. Competition is the engine of progress which is also able to lower the altitude of the sky-high prices.

Rafael Kireyev
11th November, 2013 @ 09:28 pm PST

If something went wrong with the carrier craft to cause the separate elevators to move in opposing directions, the results would not be good.

How much twist can the center wing section withstand?

Gregg Eshelman
12th November, 2013 @ 01:19 am PST

Will not be long anymore before many International flights will go through space and the aircraft instead of flying to destination will be waiting for the Earth to revolve to the location the aircraft is in space. So don't go spending your money if you can wait another 10 years or so.

Bigbrother Iswatchingu
12th November, 2013 @ 03:24 am PST
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