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SpaceShipTwo Flies Free For the First Time 164

Posted by timothy
from the ok-this-time-with-engines dept.
mknewman writes "SpaceShipTwo was successfully dropped off its WhiteKnight 2 mothership today from an altitude of 45,000 feet and glided to a landing in the Mojave airstrip." From the article: "More than 300 would-be passengers have already put down more than $45 million in deposits for $200,000-a-seat rides on the plane. The experience will include a roller-coaster rocket ride to a spaceworthy altitude of more than 65 miles, several minutes of weightlessness, a picture-window view of the curving Earth beneath the black sky of space ... and spaceflight bragging rights for years afterward."
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SpaceShipTwo Flies Free For the First Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:20PM (#33854158)

    This is exactly how train and air travel began, too. The rich will get to play with it at first, then businessmen will get to use it, and finally it'll be available to the rank-and-file citizenry of the world. Within two decades, we'll likely all be able to fly on space trips.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:34PM (#33854244) Homepage

      This is exactly how train and air travel began, too. The rich will get to play with it at first, then businessmen will get to use it, and finally it'll be available to the rank-and-file citizenry of the world. Within two decades, we'll likely all be able to fly on space trips.

      Except trains and planes took people from where they were to where they wanted to go, for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour. We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense. In the big picture these people just lift off, circle the landing strip and come back down. They don't go anywhere.

      • by bcmm (768152) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:47PM (#33854310)

        We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense.

        Going on foreign holidays doesn't make financial sense either. People do it anyway, for fun.

        • by Anpheus (908711)

          People don't fly to a foreign country to stay inside the plane and look outside in awe, then fly back home. That's the problem with space travel, there's literally nothing out there for them to go to yet.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Sure they do, mostly. They get on a cruise ship, stay aboard most of the time, get off at the ports for short walking trips or whatever, and get back on. Sometimes, they get on a submarine [atlantisadventures.com] and look out the windows in awe, and then go back to their cruise ship.

            What exactly do you think people do on foreign vacations? Start businesses or get involved in archeology digs? They walk around (mainly at tourist traps), gawk at everything, then fly back home.

            There's tons of stuff to see in space: Earth from orbi

        • by antdude (79039)

          Going outside to have fun doesn't make financial sense either and is overrated especiually with that big glowing yellow ball outside. [grin]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cjfs (1253208)

        We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense.

        Just release the next ishiny on the moon. They will come.

        • Long haul trips (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mrops (927562) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @09:02PM (#33855574)

          It still takes me 18 hours fly time + couple hours in transit somewhere in Europe to fly from North America to India.

          Orbital technology promises to cut the time to a few hours. I think there is a market there. More so as we increasingly do business with India and China. Sure there is still some time before 65 miles turns to orbital, nonetheless this is a step in this direction.

          It excites me that I can consider flying across the globe faster than Earth can rotate the same amount.

          • by xaxa (988988)

            It excites me that I can consider flying across the globe faster than Earth can rotate the same amount.

            Concorde's cruising speed was 2170 km/h, which is faster than the Earth rotates. I think they sometimes did sightseeing trips to see a solar eclipse twice (fly across it's path, then fly across it again).

            • by 6Yankee (597075)
              Yep. On the evening flight to New York, if it left just after dark, the lucky swine on board could see the sun rise in the West.
      • by fantomas (94850) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:08PM (#33854432)

        The first trains and planes tended to be just for demonstration as well: check out Trevithick's 1808 Catch Me Who Can [sciencemuseum.org.uk] circular railway in London. People paid to see and have a go on this novelty ride. Others took the concept on from there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour.

        Absolutely not! Space is just 100 km up while earth-based locations can be 20,000 km apart. By climbing above the atmosphere a ship avoids air resistance so it can travel much faster. This can definitely make financial sense.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:00PM (#33854712) Journal
          The nice thing about being in the atmosphere is that you just need to carry fuel - you can use the medium as reaction mass just by scooping it up from the front and pushing it out of the back at a higher speed. In space, you have to bring your own reaction mass, meaning that you have to lift it 100Km. The energy required to do so means that going via space is definitely not the cheap solution, although it might be the fast one. Unfortunately for people wanting to do this, Concorde taught us that the market for ultra-fast transportation is shrinking. If something is so urgent that it can't wait a day, it's more common to use a telephone or some other form of remote communication. If it can wait a day, it's rarely worth the extra cost of shaving a few hours off the trip.
          • by JamesP (688957) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:40PM (#33854936)

            Well, the thing with Concorde is, when flying fast, the atmosphere is a burden

            The longest commercial flight on schedule today is Newark->Singapore at 9500Mi, almost a 19h flight (see wikipedia Non-stop_flight)

            I'm sure some will shell the money to get there faster.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Grishnakh (216268)

              Some will, but not enough to keep the program running. A plane the size of the Concorde needs hundreds of people per day to keep operating and funding its fuel-guzzling engines. Not that many people are willing to pay $5k/seat, so it went bust. Making the plane smaller won't work either; the fuel usage won't fall that much, so the ticket price will increase greatly, further reducing the number of people willing to pay for a seat (the biggest planes like 747s are the most fuel-efficient per passenger).

              • Not that many people are willing to pay $5k/seat, so it went bust.

                Concorde did NOT go bust... it was still a viable business model at the seat price... it got killed because it had a crash that was mightily spectacular and BA dropped the route and kept them grounded long enough for their airworthiness certs to lapse... then some shenanigans happened between BA and the manufacturer to prevent the other operator who wanted to operate the aircraft from getting them re-certed... BA did not like the idea of a no

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sparr0 (451780)

            Why do you have to continue accelerating in space? As the air thins, accelerate less. You're still doing Mach 10+ when you leave the minimum air density for your engines to work. (of course no one does JUST this, but it's an option to go along with rockets)

            • by gfody (514448)
              unless you're going faster than 2500mph gravity will pull you back into atmosphere (it doesn't thin out to nothing until 700 miles up or so) and you'll slow down without thrust. also you'll probably want thrust to slow down or to change direction if you are going 2500+.. just guessing though IANAw/e
          • by ultranova (717540)

            The nice thing about being in the atmosphere is that you just need to carry fuel - you can use the medium as reaction mass just by scooping it up from the front and pushing it out of the back at a higher speed. In space, you have to bring your own reaction mass, meaning that you have to lift it 100Km.

            Air also gives you oxidizer for free. That aside, the obvious solution is to go for a ballistic orbit: aim up at an angle and accelerate to a high enough speed in the atmosphere so that you don't need to hit t

      • by Psiren (6145) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:52PM (#33854668)

        They don't go anywhere.

        They go up!

      • Sub-orbital flights between two different destinations on the Earth is something that has been talked about in several cases, giving a huge advantage over airplanes in terms of travel time between two locations. For intercontinental distances, it is something that has been seriously talked about.

        It is this that I believe the original poster is sort of hinting at too, BTW.

        Something like this also gives the ability to have something like FedEx deliver a package to a destination yesterday (crossing the international dateline) for things that really need to get there. I'm sure there are things that people would be willing to pay $1000 per pound to deliver in that fashion if they could get from say New York to Tokyo in three hours. For some items there are people who would be willing to pay 100x that price if it could be done quickly.

        Yes, there is a realistic commercial market for these kind of vehicles, even though SpaceShip Two isn't going to be able to pull off those kind of flights any time soon. It doesn't necessarily require a destination in space in order to be useful for point to point travel.

        • I'm sure there are things that people would be willing to pay $1000 per pound to deliver in that fashion if they could get from say New York to Tokyo in three hours. For some items there are people who would be willing to pay 100x that price if it could be done quickly.

          Oh certainly there are people who need such a service and are willing to pay. The question is whether there is enough such people with enough cargo/passengers on a regular basis to repay the R&D, construction, and operations cost of the

      • Pure and plain commerce will take care of that.

        For now, it's a toy for the filthy rich only. A few technological evolutions down the line it will be affordable for the masses.

        Competition will grow but the money machine needs to keep on rolling so new ways have to be found to get my money in their pockets.
        How about a space hotel? How about a moon fly-by? How about a 6 day space-cruise? etc.

        Commercialism will prevail where governments fail.. goodbye Nasa, Hello Virgin.

        • by Nexus7 (2919)

          > Commercialism will prevail where governments fail.. goodbye Nasa, Hello Virgin.

          NASA is in the business of space joy-rides?

          • by mobby_6kl (668092)

            Yeah, that's essentially what the manned space program is.

          • by Cytotoxic (245301)

            Senators? Elementary School Teachers? Yeah, those were joy-rides done as publicity stunts.

            Interesting aside, Nova had a great episode about the space spy business. Did you know that the Soviets had a manned space station in the 70's that served as a spy station? Neither did I. During the Apollo-Soyuz docking mission we were told that the Soviets lacked the ability to do the maneuvering necessary to dock in orbit, so the Apollo capsule would have to do all the maneuvering. Turns out that was all bullsh

        • by Glonoinha (587375)

          It all depends on how they market it. Envision a small blimp floating above the Los Angeles nightlife with speakers blaring "A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies, the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreation facilities ..." Get Daryl Hannah to be their spokesperson and they'd be golden.

        • Commercialism will prevail where governments subsidize all the upfront R&D and construction costs.. goodbye Nasa, Hello Virgin.

          FTFY.

      • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @07:04PM (#33855060)

        Except trains and planes took people from where they were to where they wanted to go, for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour.

        Actually, a ballistic arc (sub-orbital spaceflight) is the fastest way to travel between two points of the globe. You'll get from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in about half an hour or so. You'll also avoid the need to worry about weather anywhere except the start- and endpoints, and last but not least, the view is fantastic.

        • by careysub (976506)

          Actually, a ballistic arc (sub-orbital spaceflight) is the fastest way to travel between two points of the globe. You'll get from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in about half an hour or so. You'll also avoid the need to worry about weather anywhere except the start- and endpoints, and last but not least, the view is fantastic.

          And giving your average well-heeled traveller, who can afford such a flight, up to 40 minutes of zero-gee. This creates a new business opportunity - developing next generation barf-bag technology! There will be a significant number of passengers hurling in zero gee for sure!

      • "Radio has no future." -- Royal Society president William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1897-9.

        "No imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urging investment in the radio in the 1920's.

        "Television won't matter in your lifetime or mine." -- Radio Times editor Rex Lambert, 1936.

        "I think there's a world market for about five computers." -- Thomas J. Watson, chairman of the board of IBM.

        "There is no reason anyone
      • by dynamo (6127)

        Yeah, this is stupid, especially since the 'destination', weightlessness, lasts 'a few minutes' and costs $200,000.
        What a waste - with all the expense of getting them up there, would it really have costthat much more to give them an hour or so? If they're really weightless, it wouldn't even require fuel to keep them up, though maneuvering would be more complicated over a longer flight.

        • by Igmuth (146229)

          Umm.. yes it would be a lot harder, and take a lot more fuel to stay up for longer. They are only hitting 65mi AGL. That's technically in space, but just barely (either 62 or 50 miles depending on who's counting). To stay up for an hour or so, they would have to reach something near Low Earth Orbit (LEO). For reference, the ISS is in LEO, and it takes ~90 minutes to complete one orbit. It's orbiting at an altitude of 190mi. Besides, weightless is a rather misleading term. Gravity is still pulling t

          • by Cytotoxic (245301)

            Further explication: it is not the "up" that makes you weightless in orbit, it is the "sideways". You have to be going around the earth very fast to maintain orbit, otherwise you just fall right back down. The "very fast" part is "very expensive". Of course you could continue with "straight up" until earth's gravity no longer dominates and obtain weightlessness, but that's a really, really expensive proposition.

          • by mobby_6kl (668092)

            It's "zero-g" that's the common, but misleading term, because that force is still being applied to them (as you say, just to a somewhat smaller degree). Weightlessness can be correct, depending on how pedantic you are. My good friend prof. Walter Lewin of MIT agrees that in the absence of any other forces besides the gravitational acceleration, the object is weightless. Consider this - we're all in a free fall relative to the Sun, but you won't hear your girlfriend (ok, or mom) say that their weight is 2 to

      • by forkazoo (138186)

        Except trains and planes took people from where they were to where they wanted to go, for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour. We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense. In the big picture these people just lift off, circle the landing strip and come back down. They don't go anywhere.

        The very first trains were basically just technology demonstrators that didn't go far enough to be

      • I once went parachuting. If I remember correctly, I ended up right where I started. In between I just circled the landing strip and came back. Worked for me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nmg196 (184961)

        > for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour.

        Not if you do the maths - the altitude becomes insignificant compared to the distance travelled. What's 30 miles of altitude if you're travelling 5000 or 10,000 miles? You also need to take into account how much faster you could feasibly get there if inconveniences such as air aren't getting in your way. If they could make a self-launching vehicle which could get out of the atmosphere we could do London to New York in an hour

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Renraku (518261)

      Keep in mind space flight doesn't have as much use to the citizenry and businesspeople of the world when compared to traditional air flight. It's likely to remain a toy unless they can turn it into some kind of economically advantageous form of travel. You can fly around the world for under under $10,000. Or you can fly a quick trip into space and back for $200,000. Prices will go way down though, due to standardization and marketization.

    • I don't think that what SS2 does can really be called space flight in the proper sense. Firstly, it goes nowhere near the altitudes that even the Space Shuttle reaches. Secondly, the speeds it reaches are nowhere near what is necessary for orbit at any altitude. Sure you might get the sensation of being "in space", with the experience of weightlessness and the blackness of space. And to many non-scientists, this will be enough. However, in terms of energy and difficulty, SS2 is an order of magnitude or

      • by Calinous (985536)

        It goes to space based on the current understanding of the atmosphere highest limit (above that is space). The edge of space is conventionally at 100 km (or 62 miles).
        It is true, the velocity of the Space Ship 2 at that altitude is negligible - and it would need some 6+ km/s (I think), or more than four miles a second to stay in orbit.
        So, in the end, it's just a novelty thing. Just like the first flights of the Wright brothers (and other pioneers in aviation) were

  • I hate roller coasters etc but that would be the ride of a lifetime. I haven't really kept up with Burt Rutan and his spaceships but I can't understand why it's taken so long to roll this out to the general public. I can't wait till it becomes cheaper.
  • not so... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:22PM (#33854172) Journal

    and spaceflight bragging rights for years afterward

    Hopefully, this won't turn out to be true. Brag in the short term, you bourgeois pig, but I'm still among the idealistic holdouts, with thousands of dollars in my hand waiting in line to sign up, who believe in Virgin Galactic and economies of scale.

    • Re:not so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruising-slashdot&yahoo,com> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:48PM (#33854320) Homepage Journal

      That was one of my first thoughts reading the summary - I hope it's not *too* many years of bragging rights. I want to live in a world where "I saw the curvature of the Earth and experienced a few minutes of free fall" is worth about as much bragging rights as an American of today saying "I went to Canada once!" Sure, a lot of people still will never leave a 100-mile radius of their home town, but anybody who wants to will be able to go much further and see much more.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jochem_m (1718280)
        they don't have to leave a 100 mile radius from their home town, as long as they live near enough the airstrip where this thing takes off ;)
    • Re:not so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by turing_m (1030530) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:11PM (#33854454)

      Hopefully, this won't turn out to be true. Brag in the short term, you bourgeois pig, but I'm still among the idealistic holdouts, with thousands of dollars in my hand waiting in line to sign up, who believe in Virgin Galactic and economies of scale.

      At the point where you will be in space for a few minutes, they will be in orbit. At the point where you are in orbit, they will be doing a flyby of the moon. When you are doing a flyby of the moon, they will be spending some time on a moon base...

      (Well, not true exactly. There has to be some minimum practical level of fuel use that you just can't get below, and some cost to the energy that will bring about an affordability floor. And in all likelihood, energy will only be a part of such costs. For each of these steps, the fuel bill rises.)

      • by Eivind (15695)

        True, there's minimum energy-requirements. But they depend on the technology. The energy required to lift something to geosynchronous orbit, is about 15Kwh/kg so the lower bound for energy-costs, is the price of 15Kwh. In practice, it's likely to be atleast an order of magnitude more, even with a space-elevator.

        But relatively speaking, energy gets cheaper all the time. I can buy aproximately 400Kwh worth of electric energy, with what I earn for one hour of working, if you plotted Kwh/average_work_hour for t

    • Erm even if in 2015 prices dropped to $50. They could still say I was one of the first 1000 people in space... Thats pretty badass.
    • by tgd (2822)

      Its hard to imagine it coming down to mere "thousands" any time soon -- adjusted for inflation and whatnot, airline ticket prices haven't fallen by a factor of 100 in the last 100 years.

      That said, there's a lot more of us who could justify $50k or $100k than $200k.

      It'll come down eventually, but IMO not using this technology. At, say, $2k a person you're only making $12k on a flight. With crew costs for SS2 and WK2, insurance, consumables like fuel, taxes, etc ... its hard to imagine ever hitting a "thousan

  • No need for hurry. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:23PM (#33854186) Homepage
    When someone is sufficiently knowledgeable about technology it is possible to feel comfortable about rejecting technology.

    I think I'll wait for iPhone version 8. SpaceShipTen will carry people more safely, and all the way into orbit, for only $10,000, I'm guessing.
  • by cjfs (1253208) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:47PM (#33854312) Homepage Journal

    Please excuse the others saying how going first is wasteful/stupid/reckless, they do not understand.

    Thanks for helping to push us forward.

    • by physburn (1095481)
      Yes I do hope there are enough reckless millionaires willing to fly in this thing, because it will take a lot of these flight before Virgin galactic could make anything genuinely useful like a sub orbital travel, or payload/humans to orbit.

      ---

      Space Craft [feeddistiller.com] feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • $45,000,000/300=~$150,000. Sounds more like they've already bought a ride than just put down a deposit.
    • Re:deposit? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:02PM (#33854390) Homepage Journal
      Actually the flight is $750. The rest of that is bag check-in fee.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        I didnt know RyanAir went to space already...

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Actually the flight is $750. The rest of that is bag check-in fee.

        What about travel insurance? Think of the cost of flying you home if you get stuck in space.

    • by megrims (839585)

      Given that the seats are 200k (from TFS), it's fair to call that a deposit, though a pretty big one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LenE (29922)

      I believe the founder's group (the first 100 passengers) have paid the full price for the priveidge to be in that group. I've met a few of them, and many are more ordinary middle class people than one would think.

      The desire to be among the first private people in space is strong with many, and not limited to the super-rich.

      --Len

      • Ah. That explains a thing or two. The others will still have put a hefty deposit (~$125,000) on something that may not happen, though. (I'm not trying to suggest that it won't, but there's always some uncertainty on future events. What if Richard Branson keels over tomorrow?)
        • It's not like the people paying for this don't have some disposable income to be spending, and if it fails to happen I'm sure most of them have a damn good accountant who can write that off in tax.

          What if Richard Branson keels over tomorrow?

          The first space-plane would be renamed the Branson One, and the rest of the company would probably still go ahead with it. It's not like Richard is the pilot or something.

        • by IrquiM (471313)
          The deposit is still on a bank account somewhere within Virgin. It won't be used until there's an actual ride! No deposits are lost in case of failure. No need to worry ;)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Teancum (67324)

          Virgin Galactic is far enough along, as is SpaceShip Two, that I think any group of investors that takes over after Richard Branson is going to at least continue to offer SS2 flights for the foreseeable future. I think the flight deposits that have been offered so far will be honored and the flights are going to happen.

          What might put a monkey wrench into the company would be if something happened where the engine on the vehicle couldn't be certified (it is still going through R&D development) or some s

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Overzeetop (214511)

        Your definition of "middle class" appears to be slightly skewed. At prevailing US wages, the cost of a single seat would take the entire after-tax income of a median US family for 5 years. In fact, making over $70-75k puts you in the top 10% of US wage earners. I have no doubt there are some people who would trade their family for a shot to space, but in general there will be no "middle class" people on the first flights.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:22PM (#33854522)
    at least we have "Spaceships" that look like they were on the covers of 1930's science fiction magazines. Now if they would just have stewardesses dressed in outfits like the old 1930's Flash Gorden moves they we could at least pretend that we were living in the future.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Teancum (67324)

      This YouTube video has an even cooler "1930's SciFi" look to it:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nATMe_NKgo0 [youtube.com]

      Watch for the landing gear extend at the end of the flight.

      Yeah, it seems like the new rocket designers forgot that spacecraft weren't supposed to have those sleek designs like those old magazine covers illustrated. Yes, that is a real rocket in this video too.

  • by l2718 (514756) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:25PM (#33854548)
    (Obligatory reference) We are talking about what is clearly an experimental vehicle, and as such quite risky. There are sure to be accidents, just like any other new technology. The question is what will happen then -- will the doctrine of assumption of risk serve to protect the infant industry, will the government try to limit access, or will lawsuits simply kill the whole thing off?
    • That's easy. If one of these crashes, the company goes bankrupt and liquidates all assets. A shadow corporation buys the parts at a steep discount, and turns around and with the same people to open a new shop.

      You'll note that you aren't actually buying a ticket from Rutan or Branson, or either of their respective parent companies. You can be certain that the corporations are set up to be as air-tight as a billionaire can buy.

      That said, if I had to bet on someone to pull this off, my money would be on Rutan

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      The FAA office of commercial space (AST, dont ask me how the acronym is related to the office name) is doing exactly that. Some dedicated, motivated people there are trying to give these kinds of companies a sound legal framework to work within.

  • I've heard some rumors that the engines on this vehicle are being a tad bit temperamental and that there are some problems trying to get the SS1 engines to scale up to the size that SS2 is going to need. Yes, I could post some on-line references for this rather than pure gossip, but the issue still is outstanding. There were some unfortunate deaths that happened with the engine testing that I'm quite certain have been part of the delay as it is.

    To keep things simple, have the problems been worked with the

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @08:10PM (#33855374)

    They're still not even close to the first cosmic velocity.

    Yes, you'll technically be in space but the problem is that your orbit will intersect the Earth. So it's nothing more than an expensive joyride. You can just as well jump up - for a split second you'll be in an orbit (which intersects the Earth as well).

    Economy of scale? For what? Their current design is not scalable.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:07PM (#33856196) Homepage Journal
    These are the voyages of the glorified airplane SpaceShipTwo. Its fifty-minute mission: to explore strange heights; to seek out new life and new sensations; to boldly go where only a few man and women has gone before.
  • photos of the flight (Score:3, Informative)

    by ChrisCampbell47 (181542) on Monday October 11, 2010 @01:09AM (#33856720)

    Really? All this yacking and nobody bothers to link to the photos?

    Killer high-resolution photos from Virgin Galactic:
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4103/5068224405_048653fe6d_o.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4104/5068685162_c815ecf013_o.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/5068685178_2f4f70ba28_o.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/5068685118_c9dbb29905_o.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4109/5068196007_29f5b66dce_o.jpg [flickr.com]
    (that's Rutan and Branson in the last one, both recognizable by their hair)

    And while I'm here, why do I have to click twice on links in Slashdot now? First click mysteriously does nothing.

  • Video (Score:2, Informative)

    by Aerosiecki (147637)
  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Monday October 11, 2010 @07:18AM (#33857834)

    Only in America would people pay $200,000 for a plane ride that takes off from the same place they will be landing.

  • And the orientation includes a full-ride simulation in a G-force machine so you know exactly what will happen. So you wont panic or get confused on the actual ride. And opt out if necessary. This course adds to the cost the ride. Some acquaintances have already taken this simulation training.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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