Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A Trip to Outerspace

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Just read about Sir Richard Branson's new 'Spaceliner'. It is said that the spaceliner can go from UK to Australia in 3 hours. The most amazing thing about it is that it can take off and land using a normal runway! (Nope, NASA couldn't do that!)

Here is the newspaper clip. (originated from Yahoo! News)

Plans to send thousands of space tourists into orbit have taken a giant leap forward, with Sir Richard Branson unveiling the world's first commercial passenger shuttle. Skip related content

The British billionaire teamed up with renowned aviation designer Burt Rutan to build the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, which could be venturing beyond Earth's atmosphere as early 2011.

Sir Richard and his family - including his 92-year-old father - will be on the first flight, the entrepreneur said.

Others booked for a trip to the stars include physicist Stephen Hawking and environmental scientist James Lovelock.

The vessel is based on Rutan's prototype SpaceShipOne. In 2004, the stubby white rocket won the 10 million dollar (£6 million) Ansari X prize after becoming the first privately manned craft to reach space.

Its successor is twice as large and has more windows to enable greater views of Earth as seen from its furthest reaches.

To date the only people who have enjoyed such a view have been the few hundred government-sponsored astronauts and a handful of super-rich star-gazers willing to part with a small fortune for a seat on board a Russian rocket destined for space.

SpaceShipTwo has enough space for six passengers and two pilots.

It is believed that some 300 clients have already paid the 200,000 dollar (£121,500) ticket or put down a deposit for a seat.

Speaking from the Mojave Desert in California, where the vessel has been developed, Sir Richard said: "I have been dreaming about it ever since the Moon landing - that one day I would get the chance to go into space. Nasa, I suppose, didn't think that you or me would like to go into space.

Richard Branson... We DO love to take a ride in that spacecraft someday.

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