Sunday, December 21, 2008

California Space Tourism Takes Off

The Mojave Air and Space Port launched the first test flight of WhiteKnightTwo the mothership for Virgin atlantic's Galactic commercial spaceline system today. After a number of shakeout flights, the WhiteKnightTwo is to be outfitted with the now-under-construction SpaceShipTwo. Ultimately WhiteKnightTwo is to carry the space plane to altitude, where it will then detach and head for suborbital space flights. Virgin Galactic has on order five SpaceShipTwo rocket planes and two of the carrier craft, with options on more.
Virgin Galactic has received deposits from 200 astronauts totaling over $30 million. Ticket price is currently $200,000, although as passenger volumes increase, the goal is to dramatically reduce this price to make spaceflight affordable to the maximum number of people.