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Virgin Galactic has reached the edge of space


Posted on Sunday, 16 December, 2018 | Comment icon 10 comments

The flight was a major success for the company. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Jeff Foust
Sir Richard Branson's dream of sending tourists up in to space is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
Following years of delays and setbacks, the fledgling space tourism firm's SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship took off from California's Mojave Desert on Thursday and soared in to the heavens.

Carrying two pilots, a mannequin and a set of NASA experiments, the ship reached speeds of up to 2.9 times the speed of sound and climbed to an altitude of 82.7km before returning to Earth.

"Today we have shown Virgin Galactic can open space to the world," Branson wrote.

The achievement is a major step forward for the company and indications are good that the first tourists will be going up in to space within the next few months.

Branson himself has hinted at the possibility of going up in the ship within six months.

Virgin Galactic is currently competing with both SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Amazon's Jeff Bezos to become the first private firm to send fee-paying passengers in to space.

It remains to be seen however which of them will be the first to succeed.


Source: BBC News | Comments (10)

Tags: Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword on 13 December, 2018, 20:37
 
Comment icon #2 Posted by and then on 14 December, 2018, 0:43
Maybe in a few more generations, the cost of lifting into space will be reasonable enough for mass tourism.  I know I'd love to do it!  Hell, I'd settle for an hour in the "Vomit Comet" 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hammerclaw on 14 December, 2018, 4:10
So would I, but not on those gossamer wings. VG has yet to master orbit and re-entry.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 14 December, 2018, 15:56
They aren't attempting orbit and re-entry.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hammerclaw on 14 December, 2018, 18:24
As I said. In any event and personally, their "innovative" design for a hypersonic aircraft gives me the willies.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 December, 2018, 15:58
That's your choice. As it is a system designed by Burt Rutan, one of the most successful aerospace engineers of recent times, I think it is logical to have more confidence in proven flight data and his opinion than that of someone that didn't even know the spacecraft is not designed for orbit. The system proved it's worth multiple times with the X-prize winning SpaceShipOne. The fatal accident that befell VSS Unity's predecessor, VSS Enterprise, was not the result of a problem with the wing design but a combination of human error and poor design allowing the wing breaking system to be deployed... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Hammerclaw on 15 December, 2018, 16:42
Obviously, it's not built for orbit--much less re-entry. Obviously, it does what it's designed to do and, obviously, it has fragile and unnecessary points of potential structural failure. I'm delighted it hasn't broken up in flight and hopeful to continue being wrong--I just wouldn't bet my life on it.
Comment icon #8 Posted by AllPossible on 16 December, 2018, 16:08
Very awesome. Send some Flat brain earthers up there so they can argue how it's just an illusion lol. Btw as cool as this is I dont see myself going 50 miles up. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by hehuntsbeaver on 16 December, 2018, 18:34
I would be a little terrified to be strapped in that. Reminds me of the balsa wood rubber band plane I had as a kid. Just not something I look at and say to myself,
Comment icon #10 Posted by paperdyer on 17 December, 2018, 13:41
It is something I'd like to do, once!..At almost 66, I doubt if once will happen.  


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