SpaceShipOne soaring to 110km above Earth in 2004.


Richard Branson & Burt Rutan at the 2008 Design Unveiling in New York City.


VMS Eve after being rolled out of the hangar for the first time in 2008.


SpaceShipTwo completing a glide flight test in 2010.


Click on the image above to view amazing footage of the Virgin Galactic test program.


On Monday February 19th, Sir Richard Branson announced on his blog that actor Ashton Kutcher had put down a deposit for a Virgin Galactic flight making him their 500th customer. This is yet another important milestone in a long line of incredible achievements that set Virgin Galactic as the clear leader in commercial space travel. In this edition we take a look at the timeline of this project and celebrate just how far Virgin Galactic have come on the challenging and exciting journey of human spaceflight.


American entrepreneur, Peter Diamandis, announces the Ansari X-Prize. This US$10,million prize will go to the first privately funded company that can put a person in space twice within 14-days, exceeding an altitude of 100km and with the same vehicle that is at least 80% re-usable.


SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites completes 3 spaceflights and on 4th October 2004, having met the competition requirements, SpaceShipOne claims the Ansari X-Prize. Sir Richard Branson announces a new company called Virgin Galactic that will work with Scaled Composites to design another version of SpaceShipOne capable of taking Virgin passengers to space. It will be called SpaceShipTwo.


Virgin Galactic begin taking deposits for sub-orbital spaceflights. The flight cost is US$200,000 and within one month they have almost 100 customers.


Richard Branson and Burt Rutan unveil the final designs of SpaceShipTwo and her carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, at a press conference in New York City. SpaceShipTwo, flown by two pilots, will be capable of carrying six passengers, have ample room for those on board to leave their seats to enjoy weightlessness and have plenty of windows so everyone can enjoy the view of Earth from 110km/68.3mi. In July the completed carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, is rolled out in Mojave, CA and christened VMS Eve or Virgin Mothership Eve, after Eve Branson, Richard’s mother. With four engines and a wingspan of 140ft, VMS Eve is the largest all carbon-composite aircraft in existence and probably the most fuel efficient aircraft of its size, to date VMS Eve has completed over 75 successful flights.


SpaceShipTwo is rolled out at a star-studded event in Mojave. SpaceShipTwo is currently undergoing an extensive test flight program having completed over 30 flights with 15 of these being solo ‘glide flights?where the pilots practice gliding back to Earth from high altitude and the unique wing-feathering mechanism, a revolutionary new way for a carefree re-entry from space that was proven with great success on SpaceShipOne. Earlier in 2009 testing began on the rocket motor that will propel SpaceShipTwo into space. Rocketry is perhaps the most complex part of spaceflight so Virgin Galactic has placed a high priority on securing a rocket motor that is as safe and clean as possible. Extensive testing continues on ‘RocketMotorTwo?


The magnificent runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the future operational base for Virgin Galactic, is dedicated.


Virgin Galactic’s stunning terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America, designed by URS Foster + Partners, is formally named the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space. It is scheduled to be handed over to Virgin Galactic for final interior finishing later this year.


Virgin Galactic announces it has taken their 500th deposit from Ashton Kutcher, thus proving to the world that there is indeed a market for private spaceflight.

Book Your Virgin Galactic spaceflight with me - Accredited Space Agent.

 Winnie Chan of Miramar Travel

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