They are 700 bought their ticket for the space. Commercially, Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson space company looks like a success. A year and a half of flight are already sold. But still need that commercial flights finally begin. Because if SpaceShip One managed its first flight a decade ago now, its larger version seems to not even be able to bring the first brave passenger at the gates of the space. The first commercial flights announced for 2010 may occur in 2015, in the best case.
400 million already invested in the adventure of the SpaceShip
October 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne, the first Virgin Galactic Spaceplane reached the altitude of 1112 km and won the Ansari X PRIZE$ 10 million. For the first time, a private space plane reached space. A success for Richard Branson but also billionaire Paul Allen and Scaled Composites, the company of the legendary designer of aircraft Burt Rutan, who designed the SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft, the White Knight. Virgin Galactic announced then fill start commercial flights between 2 years and a half and three years later. Since then, Aabar Investments Group, the sovereign Fund of Abu Dhabi, invested $ 280 million in the company. built a “spaceport” in New Mexico and the “commercial” version of the Spaceplane SpaceShip Two, able to carry 6 passengers, has made a few flights. Nevertheless the commercial launch date has been postponed repeatedly.
Officially, Lady Gaga must go into space by 2015 his Virgin Galactic ticket in his pocket. The company announced have sold approximately 700 tickets at $250,000 each. A few dissenting voices are still heard by multiple reports and sow doubt on the space adventure way Virgin. In January 2014, SpaceShip Two, after having been dropped by its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo of 14,000 m altitude reached Mach 1.4 and 22,000 metres. It is still far from the objective of the 110 km guaranteed future passengers. Virgin Galactic is struggling to develop hybrid engine of his SpaceShip Two, such that Tom Bower, author of the book ” Branson: The Man behind the Mask ‘ said Eduardon Galactic will fail to develop this engine for 2015.
On the site of Virgin Galactic, the ads for trade agreements occur at a good pace. Vodka brand, car, hotels, the brand marketing running at full speed. Virgin Galactic has nevertheless just hire Todd Ericson, a former Colonel of the US Air Force to fly SpaceShip Two for its first commercial flight, but the company still will not engage on the date of the first flight with fare-paying passengers. A new report to wait?
“Still looking up: former Nasa chief who now nurtures Virgin’s spaceflight hopes”, The Guardian, October 9, 2014
“How SpaceShipOne and X Prize Launched Commercial Spaceflight 10 Years Ago”, Space.com, Octobre 3, 2014
“Doubts About Feasibility of Virgin Space Flights, as Branson Announces New Delays”, International Business Times, September 14, 2014