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Virgin Galactic takes big step toward space flight

Virgin Galactic Take Big Step Toward Space Flight

It's not exactly Cape Canaveral, but the door is now open for regular space flights out of New Mexico thanks to a new deal between Virgin Galactic and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Virgin Galactic announced the deal lays some ground rules for the company's use of New Mexico airspace for launches of SpaceShipTwo, the company's latest "spaceplane."

Virgin Galactic's hub, called Spaceport America, was finished in August of 2012, and is located in the middle of the Jornada del Muerto desert basin. (Via Flickr / Jeff Foust)

Spaceport America neighbors White Sands Missile Range, the site of the first ever nuclear detonation, in 1945. (Via Los Alamos National Laboratory)

​Virgin's billionaire CEO Richard Branson has long had his heart set on what he calls space tourism since before Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004. But now he says commercial flights could start within the year. (Via Flickr / D@LY3D)

According to Fusion, Branson says, "I'm pretty convinced by this summer a large new space craft will go into space. And then I think by September myself and my family will have been into space. I'm 90 percent convinced that that will happen."

Meanwhile, NASA has seen budget cuts in recent years, and some experts say collaboration with the private sector could be the future of space exploration.

NASA is looking to start using privately built spacecrafts to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017. (Via Space.com)

NASA also reports that Virgin Galactic's more interested in the money than the science, at least according to former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who says Virgin isn't even really going to space in the first place. (Via NASA)

CNN reports, "Why is it space? Because Richard Branson said it was space. It's dark, nothing will stay in orbit at 62 miles; you have to get 100, or 150." ​

Call it what you will, but if you want to hitch a ride on one of Virgin's flights it'll only set you back a cool quarter of a million dollars.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
jacobsgold May 29 2014 at 11:33 PM

Where do they bury the remains?

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4 replies
MICHAEL May 30 2014 at 12:03 PM

i think this man is brilliant and id love to work for him and his company.

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1 reply

greed will kill him as it has many before him..

Flag Reply 0 rate up
kcarthey May 30 2014 at 10:23 AM

For those too young to remember, Pan American Airlines took reservations on flights to the moon back in the '60s. We'll get there but who would want to go?

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2 replies
dwtomczyk kcarthey May 30 2014 at 12:14 PM

did they offer refunds to ticket holders?

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jerachrome kcarthey May 30 2014 at 3:42 PM

There is already a McDonald's on the moon. The food is okay but it has no atmosphere.

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Lawrence Leone May 30 2014 at 11:37 AM

the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a step. As the awardee of the Space Cowboy Award (given by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty Inflicted By a Jesuit Education)
I say YippieCayYah. And to all who say it is not space...wait and see what comes next

shout out to Virgin Galactic

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dw.stone May 30 2014 at 12:58 PM

Michelle said that this is her next vacation.

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2 replies
dw.stone dw.stone May 30 2014 at 1:00 PM

And she's bringing all of her friends.

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1 reply
kmx888 dw.stone May 30 2014 at 2:31 PM

It would be cheaper than her current vacations

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eeodjo dw.stone May 30 2014 at 1:55 PM

Hope you get a chance to meet Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock of the USS Enterprise. All you have to do is yell, "Scottie, Beam up!"

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Daddy O May 30 2014 at 4:03 PM

Two thousand years from now there will be golden statues of Musk and Branson to worship.

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Daddy O May 30 2014 at 4:01 PM

We will benefit from everything Branson does and he will go down in history.

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dean552014 May 30 2014 at 8:58 AM

branson-- what a hypocrite !!! kook at all the crap he burns in the atomsphere-- for what ??? JOY RIDES-- mean while he goes around with his global warming lie filled speeches killing what people really need--- JOBS

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1 reply
MICHAEL dean552014 May 30 2014 at 12:05 PM

he's got alot more money than you, he must be doing something right. i think hes brilliant

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msharvie May 30 2014 at 1:04 PM

Government should not control space exploration. There are great examples throughout history of individuals who did great things and made great advances without the interference and red tape of government. Yes they also had failures (so did governments) but that is part of human kinds desire to push the envelope.

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1 reply
PHILL AND TRISHA msharvie May 30 2014 at 2:16 PM

..until one of those "spaceships" crashes on your family's home...killing a few members.....then....you'll be blaming the government for not regulating this whole thing!

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adika3z May 30 2014 at 12:41 AM

only american can do spacecrafts / spaceflights.
dont need ussr russia.
forget it about ussr russia.
not worth it.

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3 replies
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