Feeds

Virgin Galactic announces test flight plans

Can Branson get it up in 2012?

Business security measures using SSL

Virgin Galactic has announced that it expects to go ex-atmospheric in a test flight this year.

The announcement comes hard on Virgin Galactic’s remarks to Playboy magazine about long-term hopes to give space extra sex-appeal via an orbital nookie palace.

With Reuters reporting that Virgin Galactic has pre-sold 500 customers, an initial suborbital test flight is arguably a more achievable goal than a billionaire’s bordello. SpaceShipTwo is being built and tested by the Burt Rutan-founded and Northrop Grumman-owned Scaled Composites.

Neil Armstrong, who needs introduction only in the style guides of newswires, says suborbital space “has been absent for about four decades”, speaking to a conference of sub-orbital researchers in California.

Virgin Galactic test pilot David Mackay told the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference: “We hope to have the rocket motor in the spaceship later this year, and start powered flight testing”, the Reuters report states.

While the project isn’t being treated as a “Cold War-era space race”, he said that from the first powered flight to the first space flight can “flow pretty quickly … and then it’s not terribly long from there until we have our first commercial flight to space.”

Bloomberg reports that the Abu Dhabi government is leveraging its 37.8 percent investment in Virgin Galactic to attract partnerships in that emirate. Its cashed-up sovereign wealth fund, Aabar Investments, has an eye-watering $US500 billion to spend, and some of that is earmarked to try and turn the oil-funded emirate into an aerospace hub.

A successful 2012 test flight could allow commercial passenger services to start in 2013 or 2014. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.