What the media got right and wrong—and missed—about Virgin Galactic’s China problem (updated)

It’s not uncommon for the media to mangle space-related developments, either by getting the facts wrong or misinterpreting their importance, as they did recently reporting that Virgin Galactic did not yet have a license for its flights, even though it didn’t need a license now for its test flights and wasn’t even “late” in getting […]

New Branson bio examines delays and other problems with Virgin Galactic

Sir Richard Branson and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pose in front of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America in October 2010. A new biography of Branson takes a critical look at Virgin Galactic’s development of SpaceShipTwo (credit: J. Foust)

A new biography of Sir Richard Branson, being published in the United Kingdom this […]

For SpaceShipTwo, focus on the engine, not the license

SpaceShipTwo during its first powered test flight on April 29, 2013. It has made only two powered flight since then, something that may be a bigger concern than whether it has a launch license yet. (credit: Virgin Galactic/MarsScientific.com)

Since the third powered SpaceShipTwo test flight early this month, the vehicle has flown again, although […]

SpaceShipTwo’s third powered flight begins a critical year for Virgin Galactic

SpaceShipTwo fires its hybrid rocket engine during its third powered test flight on January 10, 2014. The reflective material added to the inboard surfaces of the vehicle’s tail booms since the second powered flight in September is clearly visible in the image. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

After weather scrubbed a pre-holiday powered flight attempt last […]

Year in PReview: is 2014 finally the year suborbital space tourism lifts off?

SpaceShipTwo during its first powered test flight on April 29, 2013. (credit: Virgin Galactic/MarsScientific.com)

One decade ago, hopes were high for suborbital space tourism. Scaled Composites had performed the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne in December of 2003, and other than a minor landing mishap, the company seemed to be on track for […]

Weather scrubs SpaceShipTwo powered flight attempt

For the last couple of months, Virgin Galactic had promised that its next powered flight of SpaceShipTwo would take place soon. But, after all that time, Wednesday was still too soon, at least as far as Mother Nature was concerned. Virgin planned to carry out a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo on Wednesday from Mojave, […]

A shinier SpaceShipTwo takes to the skies, with a powered flight “soon”

SpaceShipTwo landing after a December 11, 2013 glide flight. The inboard surfaces of the vehicle’s vertical stabilizer are covered with Kapton to help regulate their temperature. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic announced yesterday that SpaceShipTwo (SS2) performed an unpowered test flight yesterday while stating again that it would soon perform another powered test flight. […]

Bitcoins, space tourism, and the benefits and perils of exclusivity

On Friday, Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic found yet another way to get into the news. Friday morning, Branson announced that his commercial space company would accept payment in the form of bitcoins, a cryptocurrency that has attracted increasing attention in recent months as its value has skyrocketed. A single bitcoin is worth […]

Lady Gaga joins the ranks of musicians who want to perform in space

Another music star is interested in going to space. US Weekly reported Wednesday that pop singer Lady Gaga, perhaps known as much for her creative wardrobe as for her music, would be flying on Virgin Galactic in 2015 to perform a song. The singer—legally known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta—would fly as part of festival […]

Virgin Galactic’s plea to the science media

Speaking late Sunday at the New Horizons in Science conference, a meeting of science writers at the University of Florida, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides did not make much news for those who have been following the company’s suborbital vehicle developments. (Full video of the talk, which was webcast live, is above.) Perhaps the […]