Virgin Galactic: Richard Branson, that hot air balloning nut and playboy of the airline business, has created a new company to offer paid spaceflights. He’s entered a deal with Scaled Composites to license the technology behind SpaceShipOne.
By the end of the decade, Virgin Galactic — the most exciting development in the story of modern space history — is planning to make it possible for almost anyone to visit the final frontier at an affordable price.
I gotta admit, the name of the company is very, very cool. Can’t wait to fly. From the Wikipedia entry (yes, it’s already up and has better information than any of the news outlets):
The Virgin SpaceShips are to be named using the prefix VSS (“Virgin SpaceShip”). The first craft is to be the VSS Enterprise, perhaps a nod to Star Trek’s USS Enterprise.
Of course, all of this depends on the success of the SpaceShipOne flight tomorrow. This is not the test we talked about a few months ago — this is a real run at the X Prize. SpaceShipOne has to make the flight tomorrow and another one within two weeks.