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Virgin Galactic moves to New Mexico, another step for commercial flight


Virgin's Richard Branson and Under Armor's Kevin Plank talking to the United States today.
Josmar Taveras, USA TODAY

SANTA FE, NM (AP) – Billion Richard Branson moves Virgin Galactic's winged passenger rocket and more than 100 California employees to an external commercial launch and landing facility in southern New Mexico . His space tourism dreams a step closer to reality.

On Friday, Branson said at a press conference that Virgin Galactic's development and testing program has advanced enough to make the move to the tailor-made hangar and track at taxpayer-funded Spaceport America facilities near the city of Truth or Consequences.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said a small number of flight tests are expected. He refused to set a specific deadline for the first commercial aircraft.

Early shots of two space ships that Virgin Galactic are concerned with gathering in Mojave, California. While these planes are designed to enter the room and return to Earth in the same location, the virgin Richard Branson has expressed interest in perhaps using such point-to-point transcontinental travel technology, just like the service provided by it now -closed Concorde. (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

An interior cabin for the company's space rocket is being tested, and pilots and engineers are among the employees moving from California to New Mexico. The move to New Mexico puts the company in the "home stretch", says Whitesides.

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The production of the space companies of a sister company, The Space Ship Company, will remain based in Mojave, California.

Virgin Galactics Long Way

Taxpayers invested over $ 200 million in Spaceport America after Branson and then Gov. Bill Richardson, a democrat, set the plan for the facility, with Virgin Galactic as an anchor owner.

Virgin Galactic's space development has taken much longer than expected and had a major setback as the company's first experimental craft collapsed during the 2014 test flight, killing the co-pilot.

Branson thanked new politics and residents of New Mexico for their patience over the past decade. He said he believes space tourism – once up – is likely to lead to profound change.

"Our future success as a species rests on a planetary perspective," said Branson. "The perspective we know comes into focus when that planet is seen from the black sky in space."

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Branson described a vision of hotel in space and a network of space ports that allow supersonic, transcontinental travel anywhere on earth in a matter of hours. However, he indicated that the building's economic viability comes first.

"We need the economic drive to be able to do all that," he said. "If the room program is successful I think … then the sky is the limit."

"As a free fall in an amusement park"

In February, a new version of Virgin Galactic's Vessel SpaceShipTwo rose three times the speed of sound to a height of nearly 56 kilometers (99 kilometers) in a Southern California trial flight, which a crew member permeated the experience.

On Friday It outlined the crew Beth Moses about his journey to weightlessness and the visual point of view with the speaker room and the earth below.

"Everything is quiet and quiet, and you can pull up and float around the cabin," she said. "The photos don't do the view from the room justice. … I will be able to see it forever."

The company's present spacecraft doesn't start from the ground. It is carried under a special plan to a height of approx. 15,240 meters before it loosens and ignites its rocket engine.

"The release is like a free fall in an amusement park, except that it continues," Moses said. "And then the rocket engine lights up. Before you know it, you are supersonic."

The vessel throws itself to the top of its climb before it gradually falls to the ground, stabilized by "removal" technology where tohals rotate upward to increase the dream on the way to a runway Landing.

First suborbital flight

Branson has previously said he would like to make his first suborbital flight this year as one of the venture's first passengers on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20. But he did

"They've been patient too," says Branson. "Space is difficult."

Hundreds of potential customers have committed as much as $ 250,000 up for rides in the Virgin's six-passenger rocket, about the size of an executive jet.

Step in the space tourism interest

] Space tourism has not been a complete novelty since the millionaire's American engineer Dennis Tito paid $ 20 million in 2001 to join a Russian space mission to the international space station Branson's goal has been to "democratize" space by opening up to more and more people.

The effort began in 2004 when Branson announced the foundation of Virgin Galactic in the heady days of the SpaceShipOne aircraft, the first privately funded space scientist Adam Jonas , Morgan Stanley's equity research director, said that Branson's venture could have a negligible impact on the age of social media how the audience visualizes space as a domain for scientific and commercial exploration.

"You take them back to earth, and they explain what they saw – it's a story that goes through social media, people will hear," he said. "Sometimes you need some distance to get a perspective, to see the earth from space, and see how thin the layers of atmosphere are that protect us."

Branson's plans are progressively advanced among a wider wave of private investment in space technology with Amazon Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos announced on Thursday that his space company Blue Origin will send a robot ship to the moon with ambitions for another ship capable of bringing people there The same time frame as NASA's proposed 2024 back. Bezos has not provided any details on launch dates.


Virgin Galactic says the rocket plane has reached the second time in a test flight across California. The spacecraft carried two pilots, and a third crew to evaluate the cabin from the passenger perspective. (February 22)

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