The ambitiously named Virgin Galactic has unveiled the latest vehicle in its fleet – the Spaceship III named VSS Imagine. The reveal comes ahead of ground testing for the suborbital jalopy which, should all go well, will lead to glide flights this summer from the company's base at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The " …
Quite. With the current climate issues this is utterly irresponsible. God knows how many tons of CO2 this glorified jolly will produce per passenger just from the flight itself, never mind all the testing and support operations etc plus the flithy rockets they're using that spew out contaminated black carbon and various unpleasent exhaust products into the upper atmosphere, far far worse than a jet of the same size. Yet Richard Branson is quite happy to spout his greenwash when it suits him commercially such as the allegedly sustainable fuels Virgin Atlantic flies a few jets on now and then.
VSS Imagine can take you on a trip to imagine-land because that's as far as many people will be going on this laughable project. After all these years how many of the people who paid up front have either died or got too old to handle the experience?
John lennon - but everyone else just has to sit and watch from the ground.
I know that a few Reg readers will crack the code in that last sentence ;-)
If this does go retail and the customer service is like Virgin Media.
We'll get all the perks. Loyal customers will get to pay over the odds. Customer service will be handled in Wales "it says yurr on the com-poo-tah that's the best I can do, do you still want to can-sal, suuur?" and occasionally it might work as intended.
You'll only get to fly first class if you're a new customer and if you're a long standing customer you get to fly in a steel box in the cargo bay...for twice the price.
Yay Virgin. Cunts.
I wouldn't worry about the pollution from anything Virgin Galactic because none of that is going to happen.
I'm pretty sure its just some sort of complicated tax dodge at this point, because if it really was an orbital tourism venture they would have put someone into orbit by now.
I am intrigued by Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne and applaud it's first successful flight in January and the WhiteKnightTwo seems like a good concept.
But they got almost no coverage while their SpaceShip III is all over the news.
Why people are fascinated by space tourism is beyond me. It's not as if anyone reading the articles will ever be able to afford it. It's just for the 1% with more money than sense.
"Why people are fascinated by space tourism is beyond me. It's not as if anyone reading the articles will ever be able to afford it."
Which explains why you read the article so avidly you decided to comment on it. Riiight.
Seriously, most folks are fascinated by space ventures of any kind, manned or unmanned, yet less than 1% will ever get to participate directly, let alone be given a ride.
Well I for one think this is great. I know, I know, 18 years and we are still not there yet, but there is not at all easy to get to. And if it succeeds think of the size of the suborbital market. I'm impressed at Branson. 18 years. His skill set is developing businesses, not running them, as he says he gets bored when they become mundane. So the 18 years must have been hard for him.
Amazing. At least I'm going to stand on the parapets and say well done. We need people like him -- after all it's his money so I have no right to moan.
18 years after the Wright Flyer's first flight, aircraft were flying ten thousand times as far over open water.
In the early 1960s, (about 20-25 years after the first rocket and jet aircraft flew) aircraft-launched piloted rockets launched from jets were reaching 100 km in altitude.
Virgin really haven't gotten very far very fast.
I'm not terribly impressed, V-Gs first sub-orbital passengers have been ‘next year’ since 2007.
The far more complicated shuttle took 15 years from design study to achieving LEO as the first reusable vehicle, the main fuel tank could also have been made reusable but it wasn’t worth the effort.
Space-X went from zero to reusable in 15 years and humans in LEO in 18. I wouldn’t be surprised if a 100Km altitude suborbital hop in one of their dragon capsules already costs less than V-G are touting.
The flight profiles of Virgin Galactic to date have all been about the up-down. It doesn't spend especially long at altitude; the portion of the flight with the opportunity to travel sideways with little resistance is very short; and adding horizontal velocity would also mean rethinking the re-entry profile and thermal design in all likelyhood. I doubt there's any advantage over a private jet for things that happen to be in range, and a whole lot of disadvantage.
The suborbital hops of Mercury-Redstone didn't cover much distance either.
Its launching microsats into LEO.
His ultimate model is likely more efficient than Elons method. White Knight II is his ticket - not the bauble he is launching currently - thats for show. He won a $45M contract from NASA last December.
It will become interesting
There isnt the market for 400 flights per year (per spaceport) for just jollies.
They have successfully launched 40 cubesats from the 747 - so have proved the technology. That research will give them an edge in miltech contracts - the real commercial target. The 747 cant launch as high as White knight II - but can carry more gross weight. I wouldnt be surprised if they have looked at Paul Allens plane for the same purpose. Its a lot easier, if a bit unimpressive to go hypersonic at 50,000 feet than from ground level...
There are lots of issues launching horizontally from planes, Pegasus has been failing at them for 25+years. Admittedly it's a lot easier for microsats but reusable rockets may have already 'won'.
>He won a $45M contract from NASA last December.
That's, "you don't even have a senator on the right committee" money for Nasa
Given the laughable customer service I've experienced from Virgin Media, who had to pay me compensation after I took them to independent arbitration when they lost the cancellation letter of which they'd previously acknowledged receipt, and Virgin Experience Days, who seem to go out of their way to make it difficult to actually spend one of their vouchers, I don't think I'd throw any money in VG's direction even if I had a spare hundred grand knocking around.
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