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Fraser
2003-Jul-08, 09:59 PM
SUMMARY: Aerospace pioneer Bart Rutan has created what he calls the world's first private space program. The three-person capsule, rocket and launch aircraft, together dubbed SpaceShipOne, were unveiled at Scaled Composite's facilities in California on Friday to several hundred guests. Rutan and his team plans a series of test flights culminating at an attempt to win the X-Prize (the first privately built spacecraft to reach space).


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jkmccrann
2006-Mar-10, 09:53 AM
Well, Burt was ultimately succesful in his attempt to take home the X-Prize, and more power to him. Here are some words about the man from the folk at Wiki.

Burt Rutan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan)



This achievement quickly turned to commercial success. Virgin Galactic, an offshoot of Virgin Airlines, has annouced that it will begin space tourism flights in 2008 using craft based on the designs of SpaceShipOne. Dubbed SpaceShipTwo, these new craft, also designed by Burt Rutan, will allow 20 "experience optimized" passengers to glimpse the planet from 70-80 miles in suborbit. Production of the first of five planned SpaceShipTwo crafts is expected to start in late 2005, with the first test flights in 2007. Passengers are expected to fly in late 2008 or early 2009.


Probably the most exciting paragraph from the biography is this expressed hope that passengers could well be flying on SpaceShipTwo in a couple of years. Definitely something I hope gets off the ground, although you can probably guarantee there'll be some degree of time slippage. Is anyone aware if production of the first of these ships has in fact started as it states at the Wiki?

Given the phasing out of the shuttle during the term of the next administration in the States, the development of privateers with viable business plans in regards to Space is something to be encouraged - and I would hope the momentum continues to roll.

Here's a link to the Virgin Galactic site that outlines just what it is they're about.

Virgin Galactic Gateway (http://www.virgingalactic.com/en/)

Of course, it ain't cheap. Tickets have a starting price of $200K, and to get in line a $20K deposit is required - so you'd have to be sure I guess, but if you can afford that sort of fee, sounds like a great experience.