Posted By RichC on January 24, 2008
SpaceShipOne (see post for photos) provided the X-Prize momentum that will give the adventurous, and wealthy, traveler an opportunity to fly into space … at least that’s Sir Richard Branson’s plan. The final design launch vehicle, White Knight Two was announced yesterday in New York and will be built by Scaled Composites in California under the direction of designer Burt Rutan. The current ‘space’ module, SpaceShipTwo is already 60% complete and according to news reports will be ready for testing at the end of this year. SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry eight people on a sub-orbital trip starting in 2010 and will cost each passenger an estimated $200,000. Virgin Galactic has already booked over 200 individuals and has registered 85,000 interested passengers.
According to Branson, the launch system being used to send SpaceShipTwo into space may also be used to launch small payloads and satellites at a far lower cost “As far as science is concerned, this system offers tremendous potential to researchers who will be able to fly experiments much more often than before, helping to answer key questions about Earth’s climate and the mysteries of the Universe.”