Branson unveils spaceship that will launch civilians into heavens

Have US$200,000 and dream of space travel? You could soon blast off with Virgin Galactic

The man behind Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways is launching a new venture that's out of this world.

Literally.

Virgin Founder and British billionaire Richard Branson is now throwing his entrepreneurial muscle behind Virgin Galactic , his latest business venture. The company later today plans to formally unveil its commercial spaceship - SpaceShipTwo - in the Mojave Desert.

Virgin Galactic reports that about 300 people have forked over US$200,000, or at least a hefty deposit, to take a flight into space as astronaut tourists.

"This is truly a momentous day," said Branson in a statement. "The team has created not only a world first but also a work of art. The unveiling of [SpaceShipTwo] takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this ambitious project is not only moving rapidly, but also making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation."

However, the company didn't say when the craft will undergo the required "extensive test flying" program or when it will start carrying tourists into space.

An engineering team, headed by Branson's Virgin Galactic partner Burt Rutan, began building the spacecraft in 2007. The vehicle is designed to carry two pilots and six passengers into a sub-orbital flight. The company also hope the craft can carry scientific equipment and payloads into space as NASA retires its space shuttle fleet next year.

If all goes as planned, the venture should become the world's first commercial space line, capable of providing civilians with access to space travel.

The new spacecraft is set to be unveiled as darkness falls this evening at the Mojave Air and Spaceport , according to the company. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico Govenor Bill Richardson are expected to christen the spacecraft the "Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Enterprise".

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags spaceVirgin Galactic

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?