The Virgin Galactic, LLC is an aerospace companies in the Virgin Group, the sub - orbital space flights for space tourists and for scientific missions to the public offering.
In September 2004, the aerospace company Virgin Galactic (VG ) was founded by Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan. The company is part of the Virgin Group. A month later, the company Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan that had founded in 1982, the advertised from the X Prize Foundation Ansari X-Prize won in the amount of $ 10 million. The Ansari X Prize was announced in 1996 with the aim of three people in more than 100 km altitude ( Dawn of Space Exploration - see space travel) to transport and twice, with one and the same transport system within two weeks. In July 2005, Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan announced the formation of the company Spaceship Company ( TSC), owned by Virgin Group and Scaled Composites, is known. The new air and space company was responsible for the construction of the White Knight and SpaceShip series. Virgin Galactic has ordered five spaceships and two carrier systems. In December of the same year Virgin Galactic reached an agreement with the U.S. state of New Mexico to build a space station in the south of the state in the amount of $ 200 million. Furthermore, the headquarters and the Control of Virgin Galactic in New Mexico were established.
NASA signed in February 2007 a Memorandum of Understanding with the company. The agreement included the intention to ensure access for VG to the NASA Ames Research Center in California and a co-operation in the development of sub - orbital technologies such as space suits, heat shields, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic aircraft. It had a duration of two years. The rollout of the first White Knight Two, successor of White Knight, followed in July 2008. In June 2009, ground was broken of Spaceport America, half a year later, the rollout of the first SpaceShipTwo, the successor to SpaceShipOne.
First CEO of VG was established in May 2010 George T. Whitesides. At the inauguration of the first start and runway of Spaceport America in addition to Sir Richard Branson and Governor Richardsen was present. In November 2010, the groundbreaking ceremony for the TSC hangar, the Spaceport America was opened in October 2011.
The managing director of the company is Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. He plans to invest about 110 million U.S. dollars for the construction of passenger aircraft in the coming years. Among other things, go about 26 million U.S. dollars for license rights to Mojave Aerospace Ventures ( MAV ), an entity created by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen to market the TierOne technology company. The TierOne technology consists of the carrier aircraft White Knight and SpaceShipOne the slider.
The design of the new aircraft for commercial operation was presented to the public in January 2008 for the first time. The first SpaceShipTwo was the name of VSS Enterprise - baptized (VSS Virgin SpaceShip ). The cost of a flight for a space tourist are planned in the amount of $ 200,000 with a down payment of $ 20,000. The aircraft is designed for six passengers with two pilots ( SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo ). WhiteKnightTwo transports the SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 16 km. At this height, it is disconnected and accelerated with its rocket motor to eventually up to the Kármán line (100 km) to penetrate. The interval between the liftoff of the White Knights to landing of the Space Ships lasts about 3.5 hours. The weightlessness takes about six minutes. Passengers have the option of being able to unbuckle from their seats during this time. In addition to the sub - orbital passenger flights Virgin Galactic wants the SpaceShipTwo for sub- orbital science missions and market WhiteKnightTwo for small satellite launches.
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic, announced in 2009 announced that the Company has no defined timetable for the beginning of the first commercial flights, but the first flights will take place over the next two years. In September 2011, Richard Branson hoped that the first flight could take place within 12 months, was " next year " in August 2013 specified as the date for the first commercial flight. In October 2013, the flights have been postponed indefinitely due to significant problems with the drive of the spacecraft. For suborbital flights of Spaceport America was named.
In 2007, three staff members were killed when a rocket exploded during a test at the test site in California.
The aircraft fleet
With the creation of Spaceship Company ( TSC), the size of the fleet of ships was announced. To transport the space tourists into space the company TSC was commissioned to build five aircraft and two carriers. In the following, a list of the systems:
This is a small launcher that can be transported into space with the unmanned payloads. They are brought into contact with a support plane to a certain height and then started therefrom. CEO Richard Branson presented the system before 11 July 2012 at the 2012 Farnborough International Air Show.