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Wyle To Prepare First Passengers For Virgin Galactic Maiden Spaceflight

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by Staff Writers
El Segundo, CA (SPX) Jul 09, 2007
Virgin Galactic, which expects to become the world's first commercial spaceline, has contracted Wyle to provide chief medical officer, medical data analysis, and program management services to advise and guide the preparation of its first passengers for spaceflight. Wyle's Life Sciences Group, which has more than four decades experience supporting NASA's human space program, provides medical screening and qualification, training, data and risk management, and mission and ground operations support to space transportation providers and operators, spaceports, and regulators through its Commercial Human Spaceflight Services unit.

Virgin Galactic, part of businessman Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will fly its passengers on sub-orbital flights aboard its SpaceShipTwo, built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites. The first 100 passengers, who have already paid the full $200,000 fare, are referred to as "Virgin Galactic Founders."

The contract places Wyle at the forefront of the evolving commercial human spaceflight industry. While Virgin Galactic's test flight program is scheduled to begin in the latter part of 2008, preparations for its Founders group are already underway through the Wyle contract.

Dr. James Vanderploeg, a senior member of the Wyle team, serves as Virgin Galactic's chief medical officer. In this role Dr. Vanderploeg provides advice and guidance concerning medical history evaluations, training requirements, and protocols and strategies relating to Virgin Galactic's aerospace medical needs.

"Supporting one of the leading proponents of private human space travel is both exciting and professionally rewarding," said Dr. Vanderploeg. "Wyle has the right blend of experience and knowledge to successfully support this rapidly maturing industry."

Virgin Galactic, with plans for its maiden flight in 2009, will initially operate from the Mojave Spaceport in California, eventually establishing its headquarters and moving its U.S. operations to Spaceport America in New Mexico.

"We are delighted to bring Wyle on board the Virgin Galactic team," said Alex Tai, chief operations officer of Virgin Galactic. "It became obvious that they bring invaluable experience and resources into this important element of the program."

Wyle, which recently published a report entitled "Commercial Human Spaceflight Participant Biomedical Data Collection" for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation of the Federal Aviation Administration, is also providing ongoing expertise in the development of Virgin Galactic's medical data management plan.

"We are thrilled to provide our medical and program management expertise to prepare Virgin Galactic's passengers for what I am sure will be the thrill of a lifetime," said Dr. Vernon McDonald, director of Wyle's Commercial Human Spaceflight Services unit. "Our services will ensure their Founders are healthy and well prepared for spaceflight to maximize their overall experience."

Wyle, a privately held company, has been involved in the U.S. manned space program since the early 1960s. It is a leader in providing high tech engineering services, testing and research to commercial, industrial and government customers. The company also provides aerospace services, life sciences, special test systems and other services to the aerospace, defense, nuclear power, communications and transportation industries.

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Russia Launches Genesis 2 On Converted SS-18 ICBM Launcher
Las Vegas NV (SPX) Jun 29, 2007
Bigelow Aerospace has established contact with its second pathfinder spacecraft, Genesis II. Launched earlier Thursday from Yasny, Russia, Mission Control in North Las Vegas, Nev., made first contact at 2:20 p.m. PDT. Initial data suggests sufficient voltage powering up Genesis II's batteries as well as expected air pressure. While the actual confirmation of solar panel deployment and spacecraft expansion are expected later, the data suggests that deployment and expansion have been successful.

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