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Spaceport America Gets FAA License 61

DynaSoar writes "Spaceport America received an early and double holiday gift this week: first, the expected (positive) FAA environmental impact report, and second, the hoped-for but not immediately expected 'launch site operator's license.' With this license, and with the previously accomplished creation of a tax district, two of three pieces are in place as required by the New Mexico legislature to receive its funding package. The third, a lease with a space services tenant to use the facility, may come this week also, in the form of a contract with Virgin Galactic. While timing is impossible to predict, the contract is a virtual certainty. The New Mexico Spaceport Authority fully expects it, and so has projected late 2010 for completion of hangar and terminal facilities. Virgin Galactic also seems confident, as they have already screened and submitted their first 100 customers (called the Virgin Galactic Founders) to their contracted medical and training supervisor. They are busy screening their second 100 'spaceflight participants' (NASA and RKA having decided that only those who can tack 'career' on the front of it deserve to be called 'astronauts')."
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Spaceport America Gets FAA License

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:25AM (#26143569) Homepage Journal
    I live in Australia and I work for a European software company. We spend a lot of money on business class tickets between our sites.

    Long flights are expensive because you have to pay the labour for the crew for more than a day. Sea transport was more expensive than air transport for the same reason.

    If a semi-ballistic transport can be made reliable then a lot of money will be saved on time alone. The problem is that going half way around the Earth uses almost as much fuel as going into orbit, so you need a complete shuttle stack to do it.

    SpaceX have been making progress with their liquid fueled engines lately. I wonder how you would go connecting the guts of one of their rockets to something more like a spaceplane?
  • Yes, astronauts (Score:3, Informative)

    by mr100percent ( 57156 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @10:28AM (#26144791) Homepage Journal

    They deserve to be called astronauts, even if that dilutes the brand.

    The definition of astronaut is anyone who travels into space. Space is defined as as certain altitude above the earth. According to Wiki []:

    The criteria for what constitutes human spaceflight vary. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Sporting Code for astronautics recognizes only flights that exceed an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 mi).[3] However, in the United States, professional, military, and commercial astronauts who travel above an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 mi)[citation needed] are awarded astronaut wings.

    There have been cases where, like in the Challenger disaster, they were not technically considered astronauts since they didn't cross the threshhold into space. So far there's been 489 astronauts under the international standard, and 496 by the US standard of 50 miles.

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