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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Private Space Launches?

One decade after a huge milestone in commercial spaceflight, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson thinks his spaceflight company Virgin Galactic's spaceship, is "on the verge" of another breakthrough in the industry.

Virgin Galactic's road to space began 10 years ago on Saturday (Oct. 4) when aerospace designer Burt Rutan's company Scaled Composites, the builders of SpaceShipOne, launched the suborbital spacecraft 62.5 miles (100 kilometers) into the space for the second time in two weeks. That feat by SpaceShipOne won the $10 Ansari X Prize for a reusable suborbital spaceflight vehicle.

Virgin Galactic has been testing SpaceShipTwo, the successor to SpaceShipOne, to become the world's first private spaceliner. Last January, the suborbital spacecraft launched on its third supersonic test, but did not aim for space. But that, Branson said, is closer than ever. [See the amazing SpaceShipTwo test flight photos]

"We have a fantastic team, and I'm not going to say any dates … but we're on the verge," Branson said during a webcast paying tribute to the 10-year-anniversary of the Ansari X Prize.  Continue Reading...

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