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ROCKET SCIENCE
Private spacecraft nearing first test drop

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Mojave, Calif. (UPI) Jul 21, 2010
A private spaceship built to take space tourists on a suborbital thrill ride could be flying on its own by this fall, its builders say.

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic, which has been taking its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft on test flights attached to a huge mother ship, says it could make its first drop flights over California's Mojave Desert for glide and landing tests, SPACE.com reported Wednesday.

"There's a reasonable possibility that we could see the first drop flight in the fall, but as always, everything is predicated on thoroughness and safety," Virgin Galactic commercial director Stephen Attenborough said. "No corners will be cut in order to achieve arbitrary deadlines."

Founded by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic says it will build a fleet of space liners to launch paying customers on suborbital hops into space.

SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots on suborbital flights lasting a few minutes before returning to Earth.

At $200,000 a ticket, paying passengers on SpaceShipTwo will experience weightlessness and glimpse the darkness of space and the view of Earth below.

The spacecraft is designed to drop from a mother ship called WhiteKnightTwo from an altitude around 50,000 feet and fire a rocket motor to launch into suborbital space, SPACE.com reported.



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Boeing enters commercial spacecraft race
Seattle (UPI) Jul 20, 2010
U.S. company Boeing says it is accelerating plans for a capsule-based spaceship to carry people to the ISS space station and future private space stations. Boeing's Crew Space Transportation-100 spacecraft proposal is just one of several efforts by different U.S. companies to develop the first private spaceship capable of flying humans to space, SPACE.com reported Monday. Impetus ... read more







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