Archive for the ‘ Space Tourism ’ Category

Virgin Galactic Selects Its First CEO

Spaceship Two. Photo Credit: Mark Greenberg

George Whitesides has been selected as the first CEO of Virgin Galactic. Whitesides returns to the private sector after holding the position of Chief of Staff at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, he served on the NASA transition team for the Obama administration.

In reference to his new position, Whitesides remarked, “I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead this historic business which will open the experience of space travel to people around the world. There is much to achieve at Virgin Galactic over the coming years as the company moves from the extensive test flying program and FAA licensing process into commercial operation of frequent spaceflights from our new home at Spaceport America in New Mexico. There is a great team at Virgin Galactic and I’m greatly looking forward to growing the business and establishing operations at the Spaceport.”

Whitesides will move Virgin Galactic from the space flight testing phase to actual revenue generating low earth orbit (LEO) space tourism. Currently 335 would be space tourists have paid in full or made deposits for a seat onboard Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Enterprise. The company has generated $65 million in reservations. Commercial space flights are expected to begin in 2012.

Virgin Galactic Completes Second Test Flight

SpaceShipTwo completed its second captive test flight yesterday. The space craft was powered and pressurized from WhiteKnightTwo, the twin fuselage plan that carries SpaceShipTwo to launch altitude. The test flight was used to evaluate pressurization, avionics performance, electrical systems, approaches and post-flight cold soaked systems testing. The flight lasted 4.7 hours during which time SpaceShipTwo reached an altitude of 51,000 feet.

The first captive carry test flight took place on March 22, 2010

Space Tourism Gets Cheaper

Space AdventuresCan’t afford the $200,000 ticket price of a Virgin Galactic suborbital space flight? For a mere $102,000, you can enjoy up to 5 minutes of weightlessness after rocketing to a destination 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. The ticket price includes cancelation insurance at the cost of $4000. The complete experience will include a few days training and pre-flight preparation.

Space Adventures has teamed up with Armadillo Aerospace to provide low cost suborbital space flights. The latest offering is in addition a $100 million lunar mission, orbital spaceflights, a spacewalk package, and zero gravity flights.

Armadillo Aerospace was founded in 2000 and has completed over 100 flight tests utilizing over a dozen different vehicles.

National Geographic Aims High With Space Tourism Documentary

The 20th century saw the likes of inventions such as the airplane, the rocket engine, the computer and the space shuttle. Through the course of natural progression, it seemed to be inevitable that the early 21st century would usher in space tourism. And starting this spring, the National Geographic Channel will air the activities of pioneers in the space industry during a 4 part series.

Sir Richard Branson will be followed by cameras as his company, Virgin Galactic, tests its spaceship, the VSS Enterprise, and prepares it for the first passengers of his low earth orbit (LEO) space tourism company. Branson and aerospace engineer Burt Rutan are trying to create a company (and business model) that will shuttle 50,000 passengers into space over a 10 year period.

According to, the series will be produced by Darlow Smithson Productions, producers of such documentaries as 9/11: Phone Calls from the Towers and Miracle of the Hudson Plane Crash.