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Space Transportation Science Technology

Virgin Galactic's Suborbital Spacecraft Gets FAA Blessing 65

coondoggie writes "Space tourism company Virgin Galactic today said its spacecraft developer has been granted an experimental launch permit from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin rocket-powered testing of its spaceships. With the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation permit, Scaled Composites and its SpaceShipTwo craft will be able to test the aerodynamic performance of the spacecraft with the full weight of the rocket motor system on board. Integration of key rocket motor components, already underway, will continue into the autumn."
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Virgin Galactic's Suborbital Spacecraft Gets FAA Blessing

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  • by crymeph0 ( 682581 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @10:22PM (#40163077)
    When Rutan won the X-Prize in 2004, I was seriously excited. It seemed like commercial suborbital joyrides for anyone with money to burn were happening right then. 8 years later, still no commercial flights. What happened? SpaceX went from first launch in 2006 to ISS in 2012. I know, manned flights require more rigorous design, but SpaceX has been designing for human flight all along, and Musk is in serious contention to get crew flights to ISS by 2015 or 2016. At this rate, we may be able to buy orbital joyrides before suborbital ones. I know Burt Rutan and crew have the engineering skill to get this thing done, what's been holding them back?
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @10:48PM (#40163175) Homepage Journal

    SpaceX is commercializing technology that we've been hammering out since Project Mercury in the late 1950s.

    Well if you put it that way, SpaceshipOne is just a bigger version of X-15 from the 1950's also.

    You know what it looks like to me? It looks like SpaceX's dotcom billionaire (Elon Musk) put everything he has on the line - his fortune, his time, energy, everything - whereas Virgin Galactic's dotcom billionaire (Paul Allen) put a little bit of a seed money, and that's about it. Burt Rutan retired already, he doesn't seem to be burning the midnight oil either. The whole thing seems to be kind of coasting without a lot of funding or urgency.

  • Re:I read this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Confusador ( 1783468 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:35AM (#40164735)

    SpaceX cargo flight to ISS: $133,000,000
    VG 5 minute suborbital flight: $200,000

    I'm not sure what you're trying to compare.

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