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Sir Richard Branson

Space

Virgin Galactic unveils new SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity

Over a year after a fatal test flight accident, Virgin Galactic is back as CEO Sir Richard Branson today unveiled the new spacecraft that will replace the ill-fated SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Enterprise. Sporting a new silver and white livery and pulled by a Land Rover Autobiography, the new vehicle was wheeled out before an invited audience and named VSS Unity by Professor Stephen Hawking via a recorded message.Read More

Space

Opinion: Is space tourism dead in the wake of the SpaceShipTwo crash?

With the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo within four days of Orbital Science’s Antares/Cygnus spacecraft exploding on the launch pad, it’s been a bad week for commercial spaceflight in general and space tourism in particular. Even though the investigations into the SpaceShipTwo incident are only beginning, there are those who already claim that Sir Richard Branson’s dream of sending tourists on suborbital flights into space is as dead as the Hindenburg. But is it?Read More

Space

One pilot confirmed dead in SpaceShipTwo crash

One of the two pilots who were aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo during yesterday's test flight accident is dead. At a press conference at the company’s Mojave Air & Space Port, officials from Virgin Galactic said that local authorities have confirmed the death and that the second pilot, who parachuted from the spaceplane before it crashed in the desert, is in hospital after suffering serious injuries.Read More

Space

SpaceShipTwo sets new altitude and speed records

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo (SS2) continues to inch toward a full suborbital test flight with its third supersonic test carried out Friday morning. The SS2 rocket engine fired for 20 seconds, pushing the suborbital spacecraft to an altitude of 71,000 ft (18 km) and a top speed over Mach 1.4, both of which were new records for SS2. The Reaction Control System, feather re-entry system, and a thermal protection coating were successfully tested during the flight. Read More

Space

SpaceShipTwo sets new altitude, speed record

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) broke its own speed and altitude records on Thursday as it successfully completed its second rocket-powered, supersonic flight. At 8:00 AM PDT, SS2 took off slung beneath the WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft from Virgin Galactic’s Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. According to the company, the tourism spacecraft went through its full technical mission profile in a single flight for the first time, including the deployment of its “feathering” re-entry mechanism at high altitude. Read More

Space

Virgin Galactic opens new spaceport

Space travel just got another step closer for the masses (at least the well-heeled ones) with the dedication of Virgin Galactic's new "Gateway to Space" facility at Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built spaceliner terminal. Situated in the southern New Mexico desert, numerous luminaries were on hand to dedicate the innovative 120,000 square foot terminal/hangar facility (THF), including moon-walking astronaut, Buzz Aldrin and New Mexico governor Susana Martinez.Read More

Environment

Virgin claims its new jet fuel will have half the carbon footprint of others

Three years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways grabbed some headlines when it experimentally ran one of its 747s on a mixture of standard jet fuel and biofuel. While some called it a publicity stunt, it was the first time that a commercial airliner had flown using biofuel – albeit only in part of one of its four fuel tanks. Today, however, the airline announced that it’s developing an aviation fuel that will have half the carbon footprint of conventional fuel. The carbon savings won’t result from how cleanly the fuel burns, but from how it’s obtained.Read More

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