Posts Tagged ‘WhiteKnightTwo’

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Sir Richard Branson is the CEO of Virgin Galactic Airlines, a company dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of people wanting to take a suborbital commercial space flight. On July 19, I posted this short piece about SpaceShipTwo. October is a month of important milestones for Virgin Galactic.

October 10th – WhiteKnightTwo (the mothership of VSS Enterprise) launched VSS Enterprise at an altitude of 45000 ft, and it made a safe landing at the Mohave Desert runway. It was an 11 minute unpowered flight, but it was successful. I believe the engine was not tested, but expect that in the near future. Sir Richard was kind enough to post a YouTube video of the October 10th flight VSS Enterprise flight – check it out.

October 18/24/25, 2010 – A National Geographic documentary is run on Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan. Click here to see a promotional video about this documentary.

October 25, 2010 – Virgin Galactic opened Spaceport America in Upham, New Mexico. The sole runway is 2 miles long and the surface is 3 1/2 feet think, so it was intended to handle any current spacecraft flying right now. This is huge, as it gives government spacecraft a viable alternative in the event that other landing areas are unavailable due to bad weather. Spaceport America’s primary tenant is Virgin Galactic. Go here to see the official press release.

Sir Richard’s company marches into the history books with milestone after milestone successfully met. The airlines is expected to start regular commercial in 2012. I don’t know about the rest of you readers, but I certainly know where my next “extra” $200,000 is going. Wow!

For more information on Virgin Galactic Airlines, go to their website.
For information on Spaceport America, go to their website.

There are environmental issues that affect space, such as the number and types of satellites in orbit, the International Space Station, and commercial space vessels like SpaceShipTwo/WhiteKnightTwo and Falcon 9/Dragon.

On June 4, 2010, SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 spacecraft and it reached low earth orbit while carrying a test version of their Dragon spacecraft. Dragon caries the payload of people, pressurized cargo, and unpressurized cargo. The Falcon/Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to begin providing transport of people and supplies to the International Space Station starting in 2012 at a substantially lower cost than using the space shuttle.

To see a QT video of the simulated rendezvous of the Dragon and ISS, click here.

To see the company website of SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies), go here.

Now this is exciting, as this could be the way regular citizens get to go into space.

Question: How much do you think this will affect the jobs of current NASA and satellite companies that produce technology for the aerospace industry?