Feeds

FAA: All systems GO for Virgin Galactic space plane to launch from US

As soon as it can get the thing into space, that is

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Beardy Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is one step closer to opening its cabin doors for business, having secured authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch its rocket plane from US soil.

The Virgin mogul's space tourism outfit announced on Thursday that it has reached an agreement with the FAA that spells out how the agency will provide clear airspace for Virgin Galactic's space missions.

The company will work with the FAA's Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to coordinate its commercial flights, which it plans to launch from Spaceport America, located in the New Mexico desert.

In addition, Virgin Galactic has secured agreements with the FAA's Joshua Control Facility and Edwards Air Force Base to continue its tests in California.

"As a whole, these agreements provide coverage for the company's airspace needs through the remainder of the test flight program in California and into commercial service in New Mexico," the company said in a canned statement.

The announcement was made mere hours before Elon Musk's SpaceX, Branson's main rival in the commercial space race, unveiled its new Dragon V2 spacecraft at an event in Hawthorne, California.

Branson says his outfit plans to start launching well-heeled passengers into space by the end of this year, and that more than 600 people have plonked down $250,000 apiece for the privilege – including Mark Zuckerberg nemeses Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who paid in Bitcoin.

On top of the fee, each passenger will have to undergo some medical checks and complete a three-day training course before boarding Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane.

It's a bit early for them to start queuing up just yet, though. SpaceShipTwo is still undergoing testing, and has so far only flown a handful of missions, each taking it a little bit further up into Earth's atmosphere.

The most recent such test, conducted in January, saw it reach a maximum height of 71,000 feet – which, while fairly impressive by ordinary aviation standards, is still almost 200,000 feet shy of what the US Air Force considers "space". ®

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

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.