Feeds

Designs for SpaceShipTwo displayed in New York

Astronomical price gets you astronautical experience

Seven Steps to Software Security

New designs for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane and the WhiteKnightTwo mothership were unveiled in New York today, supposedly bringing commercial space travel once step nearer.

Richard Branson, the man behind Virgin Galactic, hopes that with this design he will be the first to offer paying passengers a trip into space on a regular basis next year. He admitted in October 2007 that "space tourism is still a few years away from operations", so with testing due to begin in June and a forecast of commercial flights beginning 12 months later, this is not something he's rushed into.

In July of last year, three employees were killed and another three badly hurt when a propellant system blew up during testing.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo: limited space available

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 co-founder Paul Allen, and then Richard Branson subsequently stepped in with £60m to order a fleet of five scaled-up passenger craft and a number of WhiteKnight launch platforms.

The plans on display show that the WhiteKnightTwo plane has spread out and sprouted another passenger cabin on its 140-foot-long wing. The two cabins and four Pratt & Whitney jet engines straddle a central mount for the rocket plane. This will be carried to an altitude of 50,000 feet and dropped. Then SpaceShipTwo will light up its hybrid rocket engine for the final push to the edge of outer space.

More than 200 potential flyers with an abundance of The Green Stuff are believed to have already paid deposits for the £100k flights, including such luminaries as Victoria Principal, Stephen Hawking and Princess Beatrice. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.