The dreams of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to get into the commercial space business just took a giant leap forward with today's successful test of its flagship spacecraft.
Yes that plume is supposed to be streaming out the back of SpaceShipTwo, and it's awesome.
Here at DVICE, most of us are old enough to remember when "space tourism" was a term that people only took seriously in the context of science fiction novels and movies. Starting next year, Virgin Galactic will officially begin its regular sub-orbital service, anointing a half-dozen new astronauts every week.
We've been fairly sure that Virgin Galactic had always intended to get into the commercial satellite business with its fancy midair launch system, especially now that Stratolaunch is planning to do the same thing, just bigger. In a press release today, Virgin announced LauncherOne, its new low-cost LEO launch system.
Okay, we added the bit about the mile-high club. But when you hear that Playboy has put forward a vision for a swingin' private space station in collaboration with Virgin Galactic, the mind does sort of automatically go there doesn't it?
What does a stylish space tourist wear during their flight into the great beyond? This question has not come up much in the past, but now Virgin Galactic has revealed a few details of what their paying space tourists will wear when flights start in 2013, and it sounds a whole lot like James Bond circa 1979.
Want proof that we're living in the future? How about this: as of yesterday, there's now a commercial spaceport with a fancy new passenger terminal open for business in New Mexico that'll give anyone who can afford it rides into space.
So there you are, flying up into space with Virgin Galactic, when you decide you want to check your email. Well, good news! You'll be able to. In space.
Star Wars spoiled us badly by giving us hopes of spaceports filled with extra terrestrials and bounty hunters. Virgin Galactic's Spaceport America is now officially open in New Mexico. Unfortunately, encounters with Storm Troopers will be unlikely.
Want to travel to space? It'll cost you. Specifically, it'll cost you $200,000, at least if you want to fly the friendly space skies with Virgin Galactic. That's the oft-rumored but recently confirmed price of a trip with them.