Feeds

Virgin Galactic: Flights 'still a few years away'

Not going ballistic

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's planned "space tourism" operation, has admitted that it is "still a few years away from operations".

The company's COO has suggested that work is at a standstill pending the outcome of health-and-safety investigations into the fatal explosion earlier this year at the Mojave facilities of Scaled Composites, where Branson's rocketships are being developed.

Luxury vomit-comets, grounded perhaps for years.

Virgin Galactic was formed in the wake of Scaled Composites' 2004 Ansari X-Prize triumph, when its privately-developed SpaceShipOne suborbital rocketplane was first to achieve the X-Prize goals. SpaceShipOne was funded by Microsoft founder Paul Allen, and subsequently Richard Branson stepped in with £60m to order a fleet of five scaled-up SpaceShip Two passenger craft and a brace of White Knight Two launch platforms.

The SpaceShip Twos, like their forerunner, will not be able to achieve orbit. However, they will be able to carry their wealthy thrillseeker passengers on brief ballistic arcs outside the Earth's atmosphere, during which they will experience weightlessness and dazzling views. The first hundred tickets - at $200k each - sold fast, and flights were planned to commence in 2008. The New Mexico state government also has coughed up $31m to build a new desert spaceport, designed by Norman Foster, from which the Virgin Galactic fleet will operate.

But it now appears that things have ground to a halt, Alex Tai, Galactic COO, revealed as he addressed the Royal Aeronautical Society last week on the occasion of Sputnik's 50th anniversary.*

Speaking of the fatcats-in-space plans, he referred to the Mojave explosion, saying: "We are waiting for the [accident investigation] report. We are still a few years away from operations," Flight International reports.

Apparently, work on SpaceShip Two is on hold. However, Tai said that a nifty simulator with "stunning visuals" is on offer to console Sigourney Weaver and other wealthy customers who have reserved seats, and who - it now appears - may have to wait until next decade for their zero-gee joyride. ®

*Sputnik actually did reach Earth orbit.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.