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Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo climbing into the stratosphere on thirty tons of thrust (Phot...

At 7:55 AM PDT this Monday, the Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo (SST) attained a peak velocity of Mach 1.2 at an altitude of 55,000 feet (nearly 17 km) above the Mohave Desert with a 16-second burn of its 30-ton thrust rocket engine. Piloted by Mark Stucky and Mike Alsbury with an assist from Dave Mackay in the mother bird White Knight Two, this flight marks a stepping-off point for commercial manned spaceflight.  Read More

SpaceShipTwo producing an oxidizer contrail in a 'Cold Flow' test flight (Photo: MarsScien...

Just a week after the first in-flight venting of its nitrous system, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made an even more spectacular step on the way to its first powered flight. The craft's 25th glide flight on April 12 saw oxidizer flow through the craft’s propulsion system and expelled through the nozzle at its rear in what is known as a “Cold Flow” procedure.  Read More

SpaceShipTwo left terra firma once more, Wednesday morning (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo left terra firma for her 24th glide flight on Wednesday morning. The flight was the first in which the loading and venting of the ship's nitrous system was tested. Virgin Galactic described the flight as "another key milestone on the way to our first powered flight."  Read More

SpaceShipTwo's first glide in powered flight configuration with the rocket motor nozzle vi...

After returning to the air earlier this year following a nearly nine-month long break which saw the integration of rocket motor systems, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo completed its 23rd guide flight this week. The significance of this flight is that it was the spaceplane’s first glide in powered flight configuration.  Read More

A replica of SpaceShipTwo on display at Farnborough Airshow (Photo: Mark Chivers/Virigin G...

Richard Branson today set out the roadmap for Virgin Galactic's immediate future by announcing that he will be taking his children along for the ride when the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) makes its inaugural flight next year (should all go to plan). As expected, Branson also confirmed plans for a commercial service to put satellites in orbit at a tenth of today's costs, marking the resumption of Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne program.  Read More

VSS Enterprise glides to earth on its latest successful glide flight test (Photo: Chris Va...

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital, air-launched spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), aka VSS Enterprise, is back in the air after a break of nearly nine months following a recent integration period for rocket motor systems and maintenance. The June 26 flight coincided with another successful full duration test fire of the spaceship’s engine RocketMotorTwo (RM2) on the same day. The tests mark an intensification of activity that sees Virgin Galactic aiming for powered flights by the end of the year.  Read More

WhiteKnightTwo with SpaceShipTwo spaceplane docked outside the SpaceShip company's hangar ...

A new initiative from Virgin Galactic could soon see the space tourism company branch out into space haulage. Tipped to be called Virgin Galactic Cargo, the program could see WhiteKnightTwo aircraft carrying small satellites into low Earth orbit, before launching them into space via unmanned rocket.  Read More

Virgin Galactic Terminal Hangar Facility dedication at Spaceport America in New Mexico (Cr...

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

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will be used to carry experiments into space after the sign...

Although Virgin Galactic is generally known as a space tourism company, it sees research experiments as a future mission segment and significant business opportunity. To this end, the company has signed a contract with NASA to provide up to three charter flights on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane. The deal follows the curtain closing on the Space Shuttle program earlier this year and is part of NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, which is charged with providing reduced-gravity environments for research experiments while encouraging the emerging commercial space industry.  Read More

The Dream Chaser carried into space on the nose of a rocket. (Photo: SNC)

The Dream Chaser, a reusable space plane currently under development by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), is to undergo high altitude drop tests in 2012 following a 25.6 million US dollar boost from NASA to top-off the 80 million US dollar contract awarded earlier this year. But it won't be chasing just any dream. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program this year, the very tangible goal is to deliver a low-cost, safe alternative for transporting astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit destinations.  Read More

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