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Space Transportation Science

Virgin Galactic's Quiet News: Virgin Now Owns The SpaceShip Company 112

Posted by timothy
from the big-spaceship dept.
RocketAcademy writes "While all eyes were focused on SpaceX, which is preparing for another launch to the International Space Station, Virgin Galactic quietly put out a press release. Virgin Galactic has acquired full ownership of The SpaceShip Company, which will build production versions of SpaceShip Two. Ownership was previously shared with Scaled Composites, which built SpaceShip One and is building the SpaceShip Two prototype. There have been rumors of strained relations between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. This news, which was not announced until after the close of business Friday, raises some interesting questions about Virgin's relationship with Scaled and its plans for the future."
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Virgin Galactic's Quiet News: Virgin Now Owns The SpaceShip Company

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:15PM (#41570883)

    I'm going to skip the rhetoric and just ask my question as food for thought for anyone who reads this: Why are we building space ships for rich tourists, while real science languishes in the land of budget cuts and resource shortages? Why is it okay for the very wealthy to build yachts in space while poor people starve and wonder if they'll be able to afford the medication they need to stay alive? I know these aren't easy questions -- any answer I can provide seems woefully inadequate. But I think we should be asking those questions too, not just about the businesses, but their relationship to the larger society.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Because our society is largely based on capitalist principles which uses the profit motive as an incentive to create economic growth and technological development. Being able to afford space yachts is one of the incentives that encourages this growth.
      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:26PM (#41570979)

        Because our society is largely based on capitalist principles which uses the profit motive as an incentive to create economic growth and technological development. Being able to afford space yachts is one of the incentives that encourages this growth.

        That's a lie that's told over and over again to justify massive wealth inequity. But after the first couple of million, you've got enough to live a very comfortable life, and there's no relationship between comfort and a desire to create. In fact, quite the opposite is true: It's adversity that is the mother of invention. We aren't creating multibillionaires because these people are millions of times more productive or valuable than others.

        • by 91degrees (207121)

          That's a lie that's told over and over again to justify massive wealth inequity.

          Which part? We do have a society largely based on capitalist principles. The stated reason for this is that it promotes innovation. Evidence seems to suggest that it does so.

          But after the first couple of million, you've got enough to live a very comfortable life, and there's no relationship between comfort and a desire to create.

          Of course there's not. It's not about comfort. It appears to be more about competitiveness. After t

          • We aren't creating multibillionaires because these people are millions of times more productive or valuable than others.

            No we're not. And nobody says we are. This is a side effect of the system.

            Well, if, as you say, money is just a way of keeping score and the multibillionaires are not any more productive or valuable than other people, then what is the money keeping score of, and why are we using it if it doesn't keep proper score?

            • by 91degrees (207121)

              Well, if, as you say, money is just a way of keeping score and the multibillionaires are not any more productive or valuable than other people,

              I'm not saying they're not more productive either. Just not thousands of times more productive.

              and why are we using it if it doesn't keep proper score?

              What do you propose we replace it with? And how do you propose we get mass acceptance of this? If you can answer these questions, then great! For now the system we have works pretty well.

          • by jep305 (1288822)

            "Yes, it does lead to wealth inequality. Yes, this is a problem that should be addressed."

            I would challenge you to ask yourself why wealth inequality is a problem that should be addressed. You seem like a rational person, so I'm counting on you to rationally pose the question to yourself, and seriously consider: Do I personally really think that wealth inequality is a problem, or is that what I think I'm supposed to think?

            • Depends. I don't think we should have equal wealth.
              However, history has shown than when a very small group has almost all of the wealth (thousands of times more) than the rest of the population, BAD THINGS happen.

              Our current masters are only still in power because the majority still have reasonably comfortable lives, even if the wealth is very disproportionate. If the balance would tip enough that most people were starving, it wouldn't take long for the revolution.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          That's a lie that's told over and over again to justify massive wealth inequity. But after the first couple of million, you've got enough to live a very comfortable life, and there's no relationship between comfort and a desire to create. In fact, quite the opposite is true: It's adversity that is the mother of invention.

          And here I thought adversity made you get a second job at McDonald's to pay your rent because your immediate needs are so precarious that you can't afford to think about the long run. Or at work, the people running from one near-disaster to the next don't ever get around to fixing the causes because they're too busy putting out fires. Sure poor people do get creative at stretching their dollars, but rich people get creative at finding ways to make their life more convenient, pleasurable or exotic. For examp

          • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @06:24PM (#41572007)

            And here I thought adversity made you get a second job at McDonald's to pay your rent because your immediate needs are so precarious that you can't afford to think about the long run

            Some people would be happy with just one job; And instead are selling their medications on the street or prostituting so they can keep gas in their car, which is also their home, running on cold winter nights.

            Sure poor people do get creative at stretching their dollars, but rich people get creative at finding ways to make their life more convenient, pleasurable or exotic.

            ... That is not what "adversity is the mother of invention" means. It means that when people get in trouble, they get creative. It doesn't mean there aren't other motivations for creativity, it just means that nothing motivates a person better than statements ending with "or die." Much of our advancement from a pre-agricultural society to present was based on scarcity of a resource. It's also the principle reason why we commit acts of violence. Desperation focuses the mind like nothing else does. That does not mean we should strive to make a society of desperate people, nor does it justify having so many desperate people so a few can live in superfluous abundance.

            It seems painfully obvious to me that a society that prizes personal liberty would know that personal freedoms don't mean much to the starving, sick, or weak. All they want is to not be starving, sick, or weak. Our founding document for this country talks about "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" as essential and undeniable. Why then, do we allow an increasingly smaller number of our population to actually achieve those in any meaningful capacity?

            Wealth inequity is destroying our way of life. There is no justification for it: Every argument you can make for it I can just point to any of the other 19 largest countries (by GDP) and say "No. Wrong." We don't need to be paying CEOs 450 times the income of their lowest-paid worker... in Japan, it's about 23 times. Nobody's going to sit here and tell me the Japanese do not find ways to make their live more convenient, pleasurable, or exotic. They're designing fully animatronic sex dolls right now for shits and giggles... and there are not many Japanese starving to death or dying of preventable causes per capita compared to us.

            Give me an example, any example, of where a multibillionaire, through the act of hoarding money, has benefited society. There aren't any. So we're left with the idea that we need to reward people with billions of dollars. Why? What service does a single person provide that can be worth so much? I can at least entertain the idea that there might be someone, amongst the nearly 7 billion currently on this planet, that may be able to provide some insight, some product, some innovation, so valuable as to justify this.

            But I can't find any examples.

            • by crutchy (1949900)
              Maslow's hierarchy of needs is what you're possibly referring to here [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs]

              the lower down you get in the pyramid, the more motivated you are to achieve results... when you get to the bottom there aren't really any limits (desperation, every man for himself, even cannibalism isn't ruled out)

              co-operatives are the solution... as in exactly the same as normal companies except that there are no shareholders and the company is capitalized by loans, gran
            • by DarkOx (621550)

              First off the idea that income inequity increasing is the lie. In take home dollars it might but in total compensation (at least from the cost side) the delta between what the CEO gets and what you get is actually shrinking.

              Take it from someone who has made it her career to understand these things:
              http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-keep-the-young-unemployed-2012-08-01 [marketwatch.com]

              Second I don't think necessity or adversity lead to the sort of "invention" that elevates society as a whole. "Or Die" type motivation

          • If you have been working at McDonald's for 20-30 years and still are a grill cook, either you have some serious mental handicaps, are a total jackass that make you unpromotable, or you are deliberately sabotaging your career in other ways. I have no problems for the mentally challenged in this country being able to do something useful with their lives by being a grill cook either, but somebody who has the mental capacity to do more should over time.

            At the very least, after 30 years of working at McDonald's you should be managing your own restaurant, if not being in a position of higher management. Opportunities even exist for somebody who is a career McDonald's employee like that to own their restaurant or at least be earning a very respectable salary. It takes hard work and dedication to the job, but not much more.

            For folks who either have incredibly bad luck by getting hired by company after company who is closing down, or if you are such a lazy jerk that you don't bother showing up for work or do something equally stupid like picking a fist fight with your boss on a regular basis....of course you are going to struggle throughout your life and be incapable of holding down a steady job.

            If you have the attitude to work hard and show some respect to your potential employer, you will usually be able to hold down a job for a reasonable length of time. You may end up quitting that job at McDonald's, but that is because you have a higher paying job. It may be a gamble to quit and move on to another employer, but that is a risk you take in life for any such career move.

            This doesn't even cover those who may follow a more entrepreneurial route to achieve their life goals, but lazy people shouldn't be rewarded for being lazy.

            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              That would all be true if everyone started their career from the same place, but obviously some people have much better upbringings and education than others. If your local school is a sink and your parents can't/won't help you may be unable to reach your potential though no fault of your own. That isn't being lazy, that is life screwing you.

              • by Teancum (67324)

                There are certainly some places that the economic opportunities are much more limited than others. That is one reason why people migrate and move to different places around the world. I also don't dispute that the background of somebody has an influence upon the kinds of opportunities which can come your way. There certainly exist prejudice and all sorts of horrible things of society that can and should be criticized.

                That said, by far and away it is people being lazy that stops them from achieving their

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by roman_mir (125474)

          you've got enough to live a very comfortable life, and there's no relationship between comfort and a desire to create. In fact, quite the opposite is true: It's adversity that is the mother of invention.

          - why did Steve Jobs not quit in 1985? He never spent the money that he even made by that time in his life, so why did he bother?

          Why does anybody bother once they make enough to live off of for the rest of their lives comfortably? It's because people who are good at this do not want to stop doing it, it becomes an incentive in itself. Being able to take an idea to a full implementation and see it succeed is something great in itself.

          Of-course if you are always an employee you don't see it that way, you wa

          • by crutchy (1949900)
            people like Steve Jobs aren't really millionaires... they are only wealthy on paper because of their interest in a successful company

            they don't actually have millions in cash just laying around their houses or in their bank accounts that they can withdraw whenever they feel like buying a new mcmansion

            if their investment fails, they fail

            you might argue that they could just sell their share of the company, but when the company is successful enough to make you "wealthy" i don't think you can just sell
        • You can do IT by doing everything manually, OR you can write scripts to do most everything for you and collect a check for browsing Slashdot all day. Well, what the rich do is write a real-world script that makes money.

          if rent-house-occupied = True;
          then collect rent payments;
          else advertise house for rent;
          fi

        • "That's a lie that's told over and over again to justify massive wealth inequity."

          It is nothing of the sort. It is the best fucking economic system yet devised by man, despite the recent abuse of it by government and corporations.

          • It is nothing of the sort. It is the best fucking economic system yet devised by man, despite the recent abuse of it by government and corporations.

            If it's subject to abuse, and it is (and has been for centuries), and because of those abuses, can drive the world economy to its knees, which was within several hours of happening in 2008, how again does it make it the best fucking economic system yet devised by man?

            If I was going to put my trust in the best fucking economic system yet devised, I'd want to make sure that it could indeed negate the abuse. That's yet to occur.

            • "If it's subject to abuse, and it is (and has been for centuries), and because of those abuses, can drive the world economy to its knees, which was within several hours of happening in 2008, how again does it make it the best fucking economic system yet devised by man?"

              Because EVERY OTHER economic system did it within a few years, not a few centuries.

              Sense of proportion here.

      • Our society is based on the principle of specialization of labor. Until the printing press, there was no way you could expect to know how to do something technical like ruling or manufacturing--and I mean, you had no idea at ALL; you may not even know how to read or write, you had no idea what anyone else had ever thought unless someone told you person to person--unless you had access to good teachers, who were very scarce, and controlled by people with money, or by churches. With massive numbers of textb

    • I think it's good to see that people can become rich as it motivates those who are willing to put in the time and effort to attain the same goal. "Spreading the wealth" is a dangerous position unless there's some way to motivate people to improve their situation or to ensure only those that truly need help get it (e.g. keeps the moochers and freeloaders out of the system).
      • I think it's good to see that people can become rich as it motivates those who are willing to put in the time and effort to attain the same goal

        This assumes they have any reasonable chance of becoming rich, or richer. Anyone who's successful will tell you one of the ingredients is being in the right place, at the right time. It's not just about hard work. Plenty of people work hard their whole lives and die penniless. Some famous guy who invented AC power and set the stage for the industrial age, Nicoli Tesla, could probably provide some additional insight as well.

        "Spreading the wealth" is a dangerous position unless there's some way to motivate people to improve their situation or to ensure only those that truly need help get it (e.g. keeps the moochers and freeloaders out of the system).

        People who want to be poor are like unicorns: They don't exist. I have yet to find a

        • People who want to be poor are like unicorns: They don't exist. I have yet to find a person who doesn't want to live comfortably, to have their medical needs looked after, food to eat, and a safe place to sleep. If they do exist, they need medical care, because there's something very, very wrong with them. Most people want to work because it carries certain rewards; But when the only reward is surviving until tomorrow, it's not surprising to find a lack of motivation, and innovation. Especially since they're told every night on TV about the lives of people who are so very much better than they are.

          There are plenty of people satisfied with not working as long as they can get food stamps, WIC, and any other money they can get via government programs. There have been quite a few people admit that in the news a while back. I don't blame them for taking "free money" but we have to realize the government doesn't have an infinite amount of money so these programs need to be limited to those who truly need them.

          Spreading the wealth isn't a dangerous position. Why is it so much easier for some people to believe that there are tens of millions of lazy people, rather than a few hundred greedy ones?

          I think people, given the choice, would prefer to not work and collect money rather than work ha

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do you believe those goals must be mutually exclusive?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      More funding for NASA won't have any effect on people who can't afford medications.
      If private industry, through the motivation of profit, can innovate and reduce the cost of space launches to the point of being affordable by (rich) citizens, and NASA can contract out research-based missions for cheaper than it would cost for a publically-financed system, then resources have been freed up at the public level for other programs.

      • The private space industry can do this because they are standing on the shoulders of NASA and the like. This is good though, as now NASA is free to get into more advanced research and exploration.....if they get funding....
    • The simple answer is:

      There's no profit in helping the poor. They have no money, and what little they have is spent on luxuries like clothing, food, and shelter. That leaves them no left to pay anyone back for helping them.

      Simple fact is, nobody becomes rich by giving stuff away. You only become rich by ensuring you get a healthy profit on anything you do.

      Even people like Bill & Melinda Gates, who have setup foundations to help the poor have structured them in such a way that they only give out money

      • by gagol (583737)
        I personnaly could afford to give money and 1 year of my time to a charitable entity. To actually help others get off the streets or off drugs is a terrific experience. I plan doing that for my retirement as it was the best experience of my life yet.
    • Why are we building space ships for rich tourists, while real science languishes in the land of budget cuts and resource shortages?

      Because these spaceships are orders of magnitude cheaper than previous rockets and will allow real scientists to do more real science than ever before, for less money? Leaving more for the poor and sick people you talk about?

      I actually doubt that you are building spaceships for anyone, however. :-)

      I know these aren't easy questions

      Then you set the bar for your questions very low. Next time try something harder, like "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" :-)

    • Hmm. Apparently it's a "troll" if you ask people deeper questions about personal and corporate responsibility, instead of pointing and saying "Oh look! Something new and shiny for the rich!"

      • by petsounds (593538) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:12PM (#41571293)

        The more work private companies to do on this problem -- that is, the putting people in space and on planets problem -- the better we get at it, the cheaper it becomes, the more sustainable the industry becomes, all of which enable more science to be done. There's also the whole deal of creating jobs for Americans (and other countries), which is a nice bonus. It's the same model as Tesla -- build an expensive sports car for the wealthy, use those profits to use a somewhat less expensive sedan, and on down the line.

        Maybe it doesn't fit into your Platonic ideal of how this should go, but if you have a better idea then float it. Unless you were suggesting that spaceflight is a waste of time compared with the problems we need to solve on this planet, which I don't think has to be a binary answer.

        • Maybe it doesn't fit into your Platonic ideal of how this should go, but if you have a better idea then float it. Unless you were suggesting that spaceflight is a waste of time compared with the problems we need to solve on this planet, which I don't think has to be a binary answer.

          I don't have a Platonic ideal about anything: I believe in the production possibilities curve, and getting as close to it as possible, rather than living well inside of it as we are now due to high rates of unemployment. Every day a person doesn't work who can and wants to is a day wasted that didn't need to be, and we can't get it back. Building space yachts for the rich might employ a few thousand -- seizing the bank accounts of those rich people and using the funds to build roads and fund people's educat

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            We've danced that tune already [wikipedia.org]. It's a common staple of revolution to seize the assets of the rich and redistribute the wealth to the poor... but then what? The money itself isn't worth much and just inflates, because the people were just given handouts. The education isn't valued any more than any current government-sponsored public school. The roads might be nice for a while, but then they'll deteriorate, assuming they can even be built in time... then the money runs out. Then what?

            Do we let the new dist

            • I believe it was John D. Rockefeller who at one point quipped, while writing a large (by anyone else's standards) check, that in the time it took to actually give the money, he'd already made more. This is a common problem today for rich folks. While everyone's quick to say that the millionaire could give them the money and they'd spend it easily, it's actually very hard to find good ways to spend a lot of money.

              Rockefeller, unlike most of our current crop of multimillionaires and billionaires, was a philanthropist. He believed that he had a responsibility to give back something to a community that had given him so much. But that's a rare viewpoint amongst the "old money", that is -- people who were born into wealth. The rich have very different ideas about money, people, relationships, etc.

              I'm not saying we should storm the castle, but we do need to redistribute the wealth much more evenly than we do now -- I don

              • by Sarten-X (1102295)

                Rockefeller, unlike most of our current crop of multimillionaires and billionaires, was a philanthropist.

                Citation needed. Specifically with regards to the "unlike" bit. Of all charitable donations, 41% comes from the top 10% of incomes [theatlanticcities.com]. From households (excluding foundations or nonprofit companies), 3% of households account for over two thirds [equilaratlas.com] of household donations.

                He believed that he had a responsibility to give back something to a community that had given him so much. But that's a rare viewpoint amongst the "old money", that is -- people who were born into wealth.

                Nope [equilaratlas.com]. The 10% of gifts (by number) that come from inheritance account for about 10% of gifts (by money). That means that those who donate at all are donating an equal share (I can't find any meaningful statistics on what percentage donate). I don'

                • Citation needed. Specifically with regards to the "unlike" bit. Of all charitable donations, 41% comes from the top 10% of incomes. From households (excluding foundations or nonprofit companies), 3% of households account for over two thirds of household donations.

                  Rockefeller donated 10% of his total income to church, and an unspecified additional amount to other charities throughout his life. In general though, the richer you are, the less [npr.org] you give, as a percentage of income. Absolute dollars is a meaningless comparison: Someone who's poor and gives away his last piece of bread is showing his humanity. A multibillionaire handing the poor a piece of bread does not, because he isn't giving up very much relative to his station. Percentage of income: The more you earn,

                  • by Sarten-X (1102295)

                    Percentage of income: The more you earn, the less you give.

                    As a percentage of income, modern wealthy households give about as much as any other group [allcountries.org]. Try again.

                    Your single citation (which says nothing about average donation rates over time, and rather just compares geography) actually works against your overall claim:

                    Piff says it's not that rich people aren't generous. They're often just isolated. They don't see a lot of poor people in their daily lives.

                    So let's go back to my earlier suggestion: Show appreciation for the donations that are given. Don't attack the wealthy for having money, don't accuse them of greed (any more than any other human), and don't measure generosity solely by how much it hu

                    • My, you are a cranky one, aren't you?

                      I get that way when some pompous asshole takes a dislike to something I said, and then fails to read my evidence and instead just skims it while trying to work out what he's going to say in reply. If you want me to be less cranky, you need to come to the table with the idea that you might be wrong, and have some idea about what it would take for you to admit it.

        • The more work private companies to do on this problem -- that is, the putting people in space and on planets problem -- the better we get at it

          Hang on - don't forget that private companies put men on the Moon!

          NASA provided program management and Uncle Sam provided dollars, but it was private industry ( Boeing, North American, Douglas, Grumman, IBM and thousands of smaller companies... ) that designed the hardware and made it work.

          The only exception I can think of in the Apollo program was the Saturn V's Instrument Control Unit, which was designed by the staff at the Marshall Spaceflight Center but implemented by IBM.

    • while real science languishes in the land of budget cuts and resource shortages

      Are you trying to insinuate that this someone is lacking in "real science"? Are you trying to say that things like being able to launch things into space inexpensively doesn't benefit all of mankind? Like GPS satellites? A lot of technology and know how is being done that will transfer over to other areas that will benefit everyone. Saying that this is solely for space tourism for the rich is doing a disservice and extremely simplistic.

      Why is it okay for the very wealthy to build yachts in space while poor people starve and wonder if they'll be able to afford the medication they need to stay alive

      Because one doesn't necessarily exclude the other. Building private

    • WE aren't building spaceships for rich tourists. Richard Branson is. And he can do whatever the fuck he wants to do with his money.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fuck the poor. Fuck them with a steam shovel. There is no reason why we should hamstring ourselves by restricting the search for truth to only those truths idiots like you find worthy. The manned space program was never about 'the poor', it was an offshoot of the military arms race AND as its result today we have technology which makes life possible for a great many people. Quit trying to shove your smelly populist ideology into the intellectual commons, you brainless git. Your very ability to expel your

    • by ATestR (1060586)

      Virgin Galactic is doing this because there is a market for it. As far as general business & science, I refer you to exhibit B, SpaceX [spacex.com], that is not catering to rich tourists, but instead investing on equipment that will eventually allow them to do the things you mention by developing new extraterrestrial resources.

      As far as letting people starve and die without medicine... you want to take away more of the rich people's money so they won't spend it on space vacations? That would put all those spacesh

      • by gagol (583737)

        you want to take away more of the rich people's money so they won't spend it on space vacations?

        That is exactly how the great depression ended... space vacation aside.

    • Note that XCOR (disclosure: I own shares in it) is also developing a suborbital craft and plans to make it available for science missions, at prices substantially lower than what scientists now pay for expendable rockets. The kind of science you can do with a few minutes up around 100km is not as glamourous as the Hubble, but still useful. NASA will pay for some of it: https://flightopportunities.nasa.gov/platforms/ [nasa.gov] in fact, NASA will even pay for science missions aboard SpaceShip Two.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Why is it okay for the very wealthy to build yachts in space while poor people starve and wonder if they'll be able to afford the medication they need to stay alive?

      Stopping the building of this "space yacht" wouldn't cause that money to go to better uses, and spending this money here doesn't mean any other programs are going to be cut or slowed because of it. And you can ALWAYS find slightly better uses for your money... Why are we buying candy, when there are people in the world that are starving? Why

      • Your argument is a rather simple, old logical fallacy. That's why you got modded as a troll.

        To quote the link you provided (yes, I can read): "You should not call your opposition down for committing this fallacy unless they rely on appeals to pity to the exclusion of the other necessary arguments."

        I asked why money is being spent on a superfluous luxury when there are clear and obvious better uses for it. We're not talking about slightly better, we're talking about massively better. Even in the space industry. Even in the transporting people into space industry. Even in the transporting private p

        • by evilviper (135110)

          Ignoring most of your rant, I will take issue with the claim that this will never have any benefit to mankind.

          The very design of the ship is fairly novel. This isn't an updated V2 rocket. All the things they've come up with, the solid rubber fuel engine, the hinging tail, the launch from a conventional plane, is unique, and further development of them is worthwhile. They may prove to be more efficient, cheaper, or more reliable than the conventional alternatives. Or maybe their benefits will be smaller,

    • by gr8_phk (621180)

      Why are we building space ships for rich tourists, while real science languishes in the land of budget cuts and resource shortages?

      Because we still have not solved the problem of pairing investors with people who can solve problems. Even inside companies people are often not utilized in the best way. You'd think the term "human resources" would refer to people trying to solve this problem, but that is not the case.

    • How can you spend time reading and posting on /. while millions starve? Why are we building computers and smartphones for the rich first worlders when children remain unvaccinated (like it or not, when you look at the world as a whole, all of us here are 1%ers)? Why do you not spend every penny you earn beyond what you need for minimum survival to feed the world? Why do you not spend every hour of your day beyond work and sleep addressing the ills of the world? I guess it's ok for you to live a life that t
    • by ET3D (1169851)

      If it's space ships for tourists vs. no space ships at all, I'm definitely all for the tourists.

    • by Aquitaine (102097)

      Why is it okay for the very wealthy to build yachts in space while poor people starve and wonder if they'll be able to afford the medication they need to stay alive?

      Because buying medication for poor people does not in any way address the root cause. It creates a dependency on whatever system it is that bought them their medication.

      Spaceships, on the other hand, at least presumably, might create an entire industry of space travel, which in turn will require spaceship builders, painters, repair-people, flight attendants, travel agents, parking garages, et cetera, all of whom can presumably afford medication more than whomever it is you suggest that wealthy people should

    • by servant (39835)

      Because, so-far, this is a 'free society'. Once people have played by the rules, paid their taxes, they are still allowed to do anything they want that is not illegal with the rest. Save it, spend it wisely or foolishly, give it away, or burn it.

      There is a reason why the Pre-BO takeover GM brought out new technology in Cadillac first. It let the 'rich' pay for the goods and bads, and shake out the worthwhile technology, that then slowly rolled down to the common person in the Chevy.

      The best vengance is t

    • by jep305 (1288822)

      "Why is it okay for the very wealthy to build yachts in space while poor people starve and wonder if they'll be able to afford the medication they need to stay alive?"

      Why? Why on Earth do some poor fuck's oozing sores somehow constitute a claim on me and what I do with my wealth?

    • by idji (984038)
      You could ask exactly the same question about the lawn mower, camera, car and plane. All expensive gimmicks for the rich, but now everyone has access to those technologies.
    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      If it helps, consider that today, marine scientists are just starting to get access to manned submarines. This technology was at first only available to governments, then to rich people. It was only thanks to said governments and said rich people that enough submarines were made that the costs can now be reduced to the budget of a university. Science is better off because of it.

      Forget the "profit motive" nonsense. Part of the role that the rich play in society is that they take one for the team, when it com

  • How does a company quietly put out a press release?
    • Re:Quietly? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RocketAcademy (2708739) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:01PM (#41571193) Homepage

      How does a company quietly put out a press release?

      By releasing it after the close of business on Friday, prior to a three-day holiday. Better still, do it while another company is grabbing all the headlines.

    • by jfengel (409917)

      By putting it out on a Friday after work. The main business journalists will have gone home for the weekend, and the business people who might read it are going to pay less attention to the Saturday paper. It also means that people don't rage-sell the stock the following day. They hope that by the time Monday's market opens, tempers will cool a bit.

      It's not a secret. You couldn't hide it; it's public knowledge. You just dump it when nobody's paying much attention and is too busy mowing the lawn or watching

  • Scaled is now owned by Lockheed. So any strain in the relationship may have something to do with that. TSC is a separate company from Scaled as well - as you can see from the purchase. It makes perfect sense that Lockheed didn't really care about TSC. I'm sure moral has declined a notch with all the corporate shuffling too.
  • They don't even have Class 2 and Class 3 ion thruster to use. They are not going to go above 600 km, or Earth orbit to be exact. Current class 1 ion thruster technology is only good for deep space probes (small units).

    Current technology that humans use for spacecrafts is not going to get us far. Regardless if the we call it Virgin Galactic, NASA or European Space Agency. The simple fact is the we are not investing anything to forward space technology towards the level it makes human space travel useful. We

  • Something tells me that Virgin Galactic is going to make decent money from luxury trips to space. Brandson did it in other forms of transportation before and he will do it in space. He was named after the brand and has connections to the people who will pay. The company seems on the right track to make space travel reality. I hope they will make it fast, while space is still popular with rich people.
    • by Teancum (67324)

      The interesting thing will be to see what happens if Spaceship Three ever gets built. That is supposed to be an orbital spacecraft, unlike the current vehicle being built and flown by the company.

      The one market that Richard Branson has apparently completely taken over (even though the vehicle has yet to fly) is the sounding rocket market. While Spaceship Two isn't a complete replacement, it largely works that way right now. A number of companies (including NASA and other government agency contractors)

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