Virgin Galactic Airways

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He made Mike Oldfield a star–can he pull off the almost as improbable task of reaching the actual stars? Multi-mogul Richard Branson of the Virgin empire announces his plan to offer commercial flights to space by 2007. He'll be working from designs based on Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne, which might win the X-Prize ($10 million for first manned private craft to go into space and back twice in two weeks) by this time next week.

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  1. Sigh… Well good luck to them. I hope they do it, but I’m still reminded of the Pan Am 1960s PR stunt promising to book space tourists by 2001.

  2. Go Virgin!

    I think that’s the first time I’ve ever said that.

  3. On the other hand, the Canadian group that was going to challenge SpaceShipOne with Wild Fire has had to postpone their launch for a few weeks.

  4. Virgin Galatic Spaceways is more like it. 🙂

  5. Syd, one of the reasons for that is probably that a lot of their systems are as yet untried in actual launch conditions. Somehow, “It works on paper” is not as comforting when it’s your ass on the line. If Wild Fire launches with a human occupant I’ll be surprised. If it launches with a pilot, and he survives, I’ll be shocked.

  6. Are we sure Branson is not slowly becoming a James Bond-like villan? Perhaps he’ll also construct a giant space platform laser with these ships? 🙂

  7. Branson said he needs 3000 people to sign-up at $170,000 each to get up and running. That’s $510,000,000. The $10,000,000 X-Prize is just for the wrap party. Those ice sculptures urinating champange are pretty pricy.

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