Excalibur Almaz gets an unfunded CCDev agreement

The ranks of companies with Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) awards from NASA has quietly grown by one. The charter for a hearing on the program today by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee reveals that NASA has signed an unfunded Space Act Agreement with Excalibur Almaz on October 17. There are no other details [...]

Virgin’s delays hardly surprising (and not necessarily as long as WSJ claims)

Here are the first two paragraphs of a Wall Street Journal article about Virgin Galactic, published last night:

Sir Richard Branson’s space-tourism company won’t start passenger flights for at least two more years and operations will ramp up significantly more slowly than previously anticipated, according to its chief pilot.

In an interview, David Mackay [...]

What happened on SpaceShipTwo’s last glide flight?

SpaceShipTwo is nestled between the twin fuselages of WhiteKnightTwo during a flyby at Spaceport America in New Mexico on October 17.

On September 29th, SpaceShipTwo made its 16th glide flight, and first in three months, in the skies above Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The SpaceShipTwo test flight log at Scaled Composites [...]

WK2/SS2 flyover at Spaceport America

Below is a brief video I shot of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo flying over the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal building at Spaceport America on Monday. You’ll see it coming in from the right in the distance, they going over the terminal building and almost straight overhead.

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Virgin dedicates its Spaceport America terminal

Sir Richard Branson, dangling from the top of Spaceport America's new terminal building, dedicates the building with a bottle of champagne. (credit: J. Foust)

It was the biggest line of the day—and Sir Richard Branson flubbed it.

Branson was dangling from the balcony Spaceport America’s new terminal building, halfway down the building’s glass wall. [...]

Charting Virgin’s customer growth

In a press release Thursday about NASA’s purchase of a SpaceShipTwo flight for research activities, Virgin Galactic provided an update on sales for its primary market, space tourism. “Virgin Galactic has already collected more than $58 million in deposits from 455 future tourist astronauts,” the release noted. Those are the largest figures that the company [...]

Virgin Galactic’s upcoming spaceflight plans

Virgin Galactic president and CEO George Whitesides offered Saturday some clarity on the company’s plans to move ahead with the next phase of test flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle. Speaking at the 100 Year Starship Study Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Whitesides noted that SpaceShipTwo has not been in active test flights in recent months [...]