Feeds

Branson breaks ground on US rocketplane spaceport

WhiteKnightTwo makes emergency landing

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Construction has begun on Richard Branson's multi-million-dollar rocketplane spaceport in the remote high-desert of southern New Mexico.

The Brit billionaire along with local dignitaries held a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday, featuring a launch of model rockets, historic reenactors dressed as Spanish colonials*, and a road grader leveling a symbolic patch of the desert floor.

When construction of Spaceport America is complete, Branson's space tourism company Virgin Galactic will begin launching passengers into suborbital space, where they will briefly experience weightlessness for $200,000 (~ £121,075) a ride**.

"After all the hard work to get this project off the ground, it is gratifying to see Spaceport America finally become a reality," Richardson said. "This groundbreaking ceremony is an important step toward our goal of being at the forefront of a vibrant new, commercial space industry."

The $198m state-funded construction project for Spaceport America is slated for completion late next year. The spaceport's 10,000-foot (3,048 meter) runway is expected to be finished next summer, and its terminal and hangar should be ready for tenants in December 2010.

State officials hope the spaceport will provide a big economic boost to New Mexico and provide long-term jobs in science, math, and high tech industries.

Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, is investing about $250m into the deal and will become the spaceport's principal tenant.

Virgin's officials said about 300 customers have already made down payments for a sub-orbital cruise.

WhiteKnight Two makes emergency landing

But there was one important guest missing from Friday's ceremony.

WhiteKnightTwo, the prototype "mothership" carrier jet designed to launch Virgin's commercial spacecraft, was forced to make an emergency landing while en route to the ceremony.

The aircraft made its unexpected landing at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport in Arizona after an actuator warning light came on, The Arizona Republic reports. WhiteKnight Two was scheduled to fly over the groundbreaking ceremony.

The two pilots aboard were not injured and reportedly asked airport authorities not to allow pictures be taken of the grounded WhiteKnightTwo by nearby photographers who were tracking test aircraft at Mesa.

Their request went unheeded, however, as the officials had no authority to stop photos being snapped from outside the airport's secured areas. ®

*Americans have inherited the British obsession with costumed historic reenactment and thus are required at all public events.

**To accurately re-create this sensation at home for less, simply toss $199,999 in cash out the window. You'll soon realize you've lost your sense of gravity completely.

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
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'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
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.