Shall Virgo To Space..

virgin galactic shuttle

If I had $200,000!

Virgin could be sending the first space tourists to the stars as early as next year. The final frontier will have been crossed for the average (albeit, fairly well off!) citizen, when commercial space travel begins. Richard Branson has always been an amazing innovator and radical entrepreneur. From Mike Oldfield to Virgin Galactic, its sure has been an amazing journey so far for him and his Virgin brand. He is certainly no stranger to walking the path that has not being walked before.

So his latest conquest is space and you can’t aim much higher than that!

At the unveiling of the space launch system and new shipship design in New York on January 23rd, he had this to say…

It was Stephen Hawking who first got me thinking about this issue, when he explained clearly and concisely to the BBC that mankind had no option but to get to space as quickly as possible and start doing things up there that we have been doing on planet Earth, but in a much more efficient manner.
Our population is now heading to 9 billion people by the middle of this century — that’s three times more than when I was born. With the end of the oil era approaching, and climate change progressing faster than most models have been predicting, the utilisation of space is essential not only for communications but also for the logistics of survival through things such as weather satellites, agricultural monitoring, GPS and climate science.
I also believe that someday we will be able to use space as a source of energy for the planet, through solar power satellites, using the most sustainable source available – our Sun.

The original spaceship, aptly named SpaceShipOne, has had three successful test voyages so far. It and the new White Knight Two (WK2) mothership and SpaceShipTwo (SS2) are designed by Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites. The new designs are very impressed and can be seen in the press section of Virgin Galactic here. A very nice touch is the emblem on the ship of shown below. It is of Eve Branson, Richard’s mother, who will be on the first flight. This is a very fitting honour as Richard has credited his entrepreneurial flair to her on many occasions.

galactic girl

Here’s a promotional video for the project, this and another animated piece are also viewable on the site.