Jump to content

Virgin Galactic

Listen to this article
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Virgin Galactic
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded2004; 20 years ago (2004)
Operating bases
Fleet sizeDecrease 1 (mothership vehicle) (2024)
Destinations1 (Space)
Traded as
HeadquartersTustin, California, U.S
Key peopleMichael Colglazier (CEO)
Doug Ahrens (CFO)
Mike Moses (President – Safety)
FounderRichard Branson
RevenueDecrease US$2.31 million (2022)
Operating incomeDecrease US$−500 million (2022)
Net incomeDecrease US$−500 million (2022)
Total assetsIncrease US$1.14 billion (2022)
Total equityDecrease US$480 million (2022)
Employees1,166 (2022)
Financials as of December 31, 2022.[1]

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. is a British-American spaceflight company founded by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group conglomerate which retains an 11.9% stake through Virgin Investments Limited.[2] It is headquartered in California, and operates from New Mexico. The company develops commercial spacecraft and provides suborbital spaceflights to space tourists. Virgin Galactic's suborbital spacecraft are air launched from beneath a carrier airplane known as White Knight Two. Virgin Galactic's maiden spaceflight occurred in 2018 with its VSS Unity spaceship.[3] Branson had originally hoped to see a maiden spaceflight by 2010,[4] but the date was delayed, primarily due to the October 2014 crash of VSS Enterprise.

The company did the early work on the satellite launch development of LauncherOne before this was hived off to a separate company, Virgin Orbit, in 2017. The company also has aspirations for suborbital transport, to provide rocket-powered, point-to-point 3,000 mph (4,800 km/h) air travel.[5][6][7][8][9] The spin-off company, Virgin Orbit was shut down in May 2023.

On 13 December 2018, VSS Unity achieved the project's first suborbital space flight, VSS Unity VP-03, with two pilots, reaching an altitude of 82.7 kilometres (51.4 mi), and officially entering outer space by U.S. standards.[10][11] In February 2019, the project carried three people, including a passenger, on VSS Unity VF-01, with a member of the team floating within the cabin during a spaceflight that reached 89.9 kilometres (55.9 mi). On 11 July 2021, founder Richard Branson and three other employees rode on a flight as passengers, marking the first time a spaceflight company founder has travelled on his own ship into outer space.[12] In February 2022, Virgin Galactic announced that it was opening ticket sales to the public.[13] The price of a reservation was $450,000.[14] In June 2023, Virgin Galactic launched its first commercial space tourism flight called Galactic 01.[15][16] Galactic 07 in June 2024 was the final flight of Unity as the company shifted focus to its Delta class vehicles and a higher launch cadence.[17]

Structure and history


Formation and early activities


Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who had previously founded the Virgin Group and the Virgin Atlantic airline, and who had a long personal history of balloon and surface record-breaking activities. As part of Branson's promotion of the firm, he has added a variation of the Virgin Galactic livery to his personal business jet, the Dassault Falcon 900EX "Galactic girl" (G-GALX).[18][19]

The Spaceship Company


The Spaceship Company (TSC) was founded by Richard Branson through Virgin Group (which owned 70%) and Burt Rutan through Scaled Composites (which owned 30%) to build commercial spaceships and launch aircraft for space travel. From the time of TSC's formation in 2005, the launch customer was Virgin Galactic, which contracted to purchase five SpaceShipTwos and two WhiteKnightTwos.[20] Scaled Composites was contracted to develop and build the initial prototypes of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, and then TSC began production of the follow-on vehicles beginning in 2008.[21][22] In 2012, after Northrop Grumman acquired Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic acquired the remaining 30% of The Spaceship Company.[23]



After a claimed investment by Virgin Group of US$100 million,[24] in 2010 the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, Aabar Investments group, acquired a 31.8% stake in Virgin Galactic for US$280 million, receiving exclusive regional rights to launch tourism and scientific research space flights from the United Arab Emirates capital.[24] In July 2011, Aabar invested a further US$110 million to develop a program to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit, raising their equity share to 37.8%.[25] Virgin announced in June 2014 that they were in talks with Google about the injection of capital to fund both development and operations.[26] The New Mexico government has invested approximately $200m (£121m) in the Spaceport America facility, for which Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant; other commercial space companies also use the site.

On Monday 28 October 2019, Virgin Galactic listed into the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the ticker symbol 'SPCE', the first publicly traded space tourism company (i.e., company whose primary business is space tourism). The company raised $450 million through a SPAC merger listing, and company's market value after listing was more than $2.4 billion. At the time, the company claimed to have over 600 customer reservations representing approximately $80 million in total collected deposits and more than $120 million in "potential revenue".[27]

Retail interest


After its listing, SPCE was a popular stock for many retail investors and was often mentioned[28] on the subreddit r/wallstreetbets.[29][30]



Early history and background


The Ansari X Prize was a space competition in which the X Prize Foundation offered a US$10,000,000 prize for the first non-government organization to launch a reusable crewed spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. It was modeled after early 20th-century aviation prizes, and aimed to spur development of low-cost spaceflight.[31]

Created in May 1996 and initially called just the "X Prize", it was renamed the "Ansari X Prize" on May 6, 2004 following a multimillion-dollar donation from entrepreneurs Anousheh Ansari and Amir Ansari.

The prize was won on October 4, 2004, the 47th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch, by the Tier One project designed by Burt Rutan and financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, using the experimental spaceplane SpaceShipOne. $10 million was awarded to the winner, and more than $100 million was invested in new technologies in pursuit of the prize.[31]

Overview of the flights to be developed


The spacecraft initially called SpaceShipTwo was planned to achieve a suborbital journey with a short period of weightlessness. Carried to about 16 kilometers, or 52,000 ft, underneath a carrier aircraft, White Knight Two, after separation the vehicle was to continue to over 100 km (the Kármán line, a common definition of where "space" begins). The time from liftoff of the White Knight Two mothership carrying SpaceShipTwo until the touchdown of the spacecraft after the suborbital flight would be about 2.5 hours. The suborbital flight itself would be only a small fraction of that time, with weightlessness lasting approximately 6 minutes.[32] Passengers were to be able to release themselves from their seats during these six minutes and float around the cabin.

Development operations


2007 Scaled Composites fuel tank testing explosion


In July 2007, three Scaled Composites employees were killed and three critically injured at the Mojave spaceport while testing components of the rocket motor for SpaceShipTwo. An explosion occurred during a cold fire test, which involved nitrous oxide flowing through fuel injectors. The procedure had been expected to be safe.[33]

Commencement of sub-space test flights


Just a year later, in July 2008, Richard Branson predicted the maiden space voyage would take place within 18 months.[4] In October 2009, Virgin Galactic announced that initial flights would take place from Spaceport America "within two years."[34] Later that year, Scaled Composites announced that White Knight Two's first SpaceShipTwo captive flights would be in early 2010.[35] Both aircraft did fly together in March 2010.[36] The credibility of the earlier promises of launch dates by Virgin Galactic were brought into question in October 2014 by its chief executive, George T. Whitesides, when he told The Guardian: "We've changed dramatically as a company. When I joined in 2010 we were mostly a marketing organisation. Right now we can design, build, test, and fly a rocket motor all by ourselves and all in Mojave, which I don't think is done anywhere else on the planet".[37]

On 7 December 2009, SpaceShipTwo was unveiled at the Mojave Spaceport.[38] Branson told the 300 people attending, each of whom had booked rides at $200,000 each, that flights would begin "in 2011." However, in April 2011, Branson announced further delays, saying "I hope 18 months from now, we'll be sitting in our spaceship and heading off into space."[39] By February 2012, SpaceShipTwo had completed 15 test flights attached to White Knight Two and an additional 16 glide tests, the last of which took place in September 2011.[40] A rocket-powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo took place on 29 April 2013, with an engine burn of 16 seconds duration. The brief flight began at an altitude of 47,000 feet and reached a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet. While the SS2 achieved a speed of Mach 1.2 (920 mph),[41] this was less than half the 2,000 mph speed predicted by Richard Branson. SpaceShipTwo's second supersonic flight achieved a speed of 1,100 mph for 20 seconds; while this was an improvement, it fell far short of the 2,500 mph for 70 seconds required to carry six passengers into space. However, Branson still announced his spaceship would be capable of "launching 100 satellites every day."[42]

In addition to the suborbital passenger business, Virgin Galactic intended to market SpaceShipTwo for suborbital space science missions and market White Knight Two for "small satellite" launch services. It had planned to initiate RFPs for the satellite business in early 2010, but flights had not materialized as of 2014.

On 14 May 2013, Richard Branson stated on Virgin Radio Dubai's Kris Fade Morning Show that he would be aboard the first public flight of SpaceShipTwo, which had again been rescheduled, this time to December 25, 2013.[43] "Maybe I'll dress up as Father Christmas", Branson said.[39] The third rocket-powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo took place on 10 January 2014 and successfully tested the spaceship's Reaction Control System (RCS) and the newly installed thermal protection coating on the vehicle's tail booms. Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said "We are progressively closer to our target of starting commercial service in 2014".[44] Interviewed by The Observer at the time of her 90th birthday in July 2014, Branson's mother, Eve, told reporter Elizabeth Day of her intention of going to space herself. Asked when that might be, she replied: "I think it's the end of the year", adding after a pause, "It's always 'the end of the year' ".[45]

In February 2014, cracks in WhiteKnightTwo, where the spars connect with the fuselage, were discovered during an inspection conducted after Virgin Galactic took possession of the aircraft from builder Scaled Composites.[46]

In September 2014, Richard Branson described the intended date for the first commercial flight as February or March 2015; by the time of this announcement, a new plastic-based fuel had yet to be ignited in-flight.[47] By September 2014, the three test flights of the SS2 had only reached an altitude of around 71,000 ft, approximately 13 miles; in order to receive a Federal Aviation Administration licence to carry passengers, the craft needs to complete test missions at full speed and 62-mile height. Following the announcement of further delays, UK newspaper The Sunday Times reported that Branson faced a backlash from those who had booked flights with Virgin Galactic, with the company having received $80 million in fares and deposits.[48] Tom Bower, author of Branson: The Man behind the Mask, told the Sunday Times: "They spent 10 years trying to perfect one engine and failed. They are now trying to use a different engine and get into space in six months. It's just not feasible."[49] BBC science editor David Shukman commented in October 2014, that "[Branson's] enthusiasm and determination [are] undoubted. But his most recent promises of launching the first passenger trip by the end of this year had already started to look unrealistic some months ago."[50]

VSS Enterprise crash


At 10:51 PST 31 October 2014, the fourth rocket-powered test flight of the company's first SpaceShipTwo craft, VSS Enterprise, ended in disaster, as it broke apart in mid-air, with the debris falling into the Mojave desert in California, shortly after being released from the mothership. Initial reports attributed the loss to an unidentified "in-flight anomaly".[51][52] The flight was the first test of SpaceShipTwo with new plastic-based fuel, replacing the original—a rubber-based solid fuel that had not met expectations.[53] 39-year-old co-pilot Michael Alsbury was killed and 43-year-old pilot Peter Siebold was seriously injured.

Investigation and media comment


Initial investigations found that the engine and propellant tanks were intact, showing that there had not been a fuel explosion. Telemetry data and cockpit video showed that instead, the air braking system appeared to have deployed incorrectly and too early, for unknown reasons, and that the craft had violently broken apart in mid-air seconds later.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart said on 2 November 2014 that investigators had determined SpaceShipTwo's tail system was supposed to have been released for deployment as the craft was traveling about 1.4 times the speed of sound; instead, the tail section began pivoting when the vehicle was flying at Mach 1. "I'm not stating that this is the cause of the mishap. We have months and months of investigation to determine what the cause was." Asked if pilot error was a possible factor, Hart said: "We are looking at all of these issues to determine what was the root cause of this mishap." He noted that it was also unclear how the tail mechanism began to rotate once it was unlocked, since that maneuver requires a separate pilot command that was never given, and whether the craft's position in the air and its speed somehow enabled the tail section to swing free on its own.[54]

In November 2014, Branson and Virgin Galactic came under criticism for their attempts to distance the company from the disaster by referring to the test pilots as Scaled Composites employees.[55] Virgin Galactic's official statement on 31 October 2014 said: "Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. [...] Local authorities have confirmed that one of the two Scaled Composites pilots died during the accident".[56] This was in strong contrast to public communications previously released concerning the group's successful flights, which had routinely presented pilots, craft, and projects within the same organizational structures, as being "Virgin Galactic" flights or activities of "the Galactic team".[55][57][58] The BBC's David Shukman commented that: "Even as details emerge of what went wrong, this is clearly a massive setback to a company hoping to pioneer a new industry of space tourism. Confidence is everything and this will not encourage the long list of celebrity and millionaire customers waiting for their first flight".[50][59]

At a hearing in Washington D.C. on 28 July 2015,[60][61] and a press release on the same day[62] the NTSB cited inadequate design safeguards, poor pilot training, lack of rigorous FAA oversight and a potentially anxious co-pilot without recent flight experience as important factors in the 2014 crash. They determined that the co-pilot, who died in the accident, prematurely unlocked a movable tail section some ten seconds after SpaceShip Two fired its rocket engine and was breaking the sound barrier, resulting in the craft's breaking apart. But the Board also found that the Scaled Composites unit of Northrop Grumman, which designed and flew the prototype space tourism vehicle, did not properly prepare for potential human slip-ups by providing a fail-safe system that could have guarded against such premature deployment. "A single-point human failure has to be anticipated," board member Robert Sumwalt said. Instead, Scaled Composites "put all their eggs in the basket of the pilots doing it correctly."

NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart emphasized that consideration of human factors, which was not emphasized in the design, safety assessment, and operation of SpaceShipTwo's feather system, was critical to safe human spaceflight to mitigate the potential consequences of human error. "Manned commercial spaceflight is a new frontier, with many unknown risks and hazards. In such an environment, safety margins around known hazards must be rigorously established and, where possible, expanded. For commercial spaceflight to successfully mature, we must meticulously seek out and mitigate known hazards, as a prerequisite to identifying and mitigating new hazards."[62] In its submission to the NTSB, Virgin Galactic reported that the second SS2, at the time nearing completion, had been modified with an automatic mechanical inhibit device to prevent locking or unlocking of the feather during safety-critical phases. An explicit warning about the dangers of premature unlocking had also been added to the checklist and operating handbook, and a formalized crew resource management (CRM) approach, already used by Virgin for its WK2 operations, was being adopted for SS2. However, despite CRM issues being cited as a likely contributing cause, Virgin confirmed that it would not modify the cockpit display system.[63]

While Virgin had been pursuing the development of a smallsat launch vehicle since 2012, the company began in 2015 to make the smallsat launch business a larger part of Virgin's core business plan, as the Virgin human spaceflight program had experienced multiple delays.[64] This part of the business was spun off into a new company called Virgin Orbit in 2017.[65]

VSS Unity


Following the crash of VSS Enterprise, the replacement SpaceShipTwo named VSS Unity was rolled out on 19 February 2016.[66][67] Test flights were set to begin after ground tests completed in August 2016.[68] VSS Unity completed its first flight (first free flight; captive carry flights had taken place since September 2016), a successful glide test, in December 2016. The glide lasted ten minutes.[69] By January 2018, seven glide tests had been completed,[70] and on 5 April 2018 it performed a powered test flight, the first since 2014.[71] By July 2018, Unity had gone considerably higher and faster in its testing program than had its predecessor.[72] On 13 December 2018, VSS Unity reached a height of 82.7 km (51.4 miles) above the Earth at speeds close to three times the speed of sound. The two pilots, Mark "Forger" Stucky and Frederick "CJ" Sturckow earned commercial astronaut wings from the US government for the accomplishment.[3][73] Another flight in February 2019 carried third crew member (1 in the passenger cabin) for the first time.[74]

After transfer to Spaceport America in New Mexico in February 2020, a couple of 15 km altitude test flights were carried out. Due to a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in New Mexico, Virgin Galactic had to postpone a key test flight of its spacecraft in November 2020,[75] and then in December 2020, a computer connection issue prevented engine ignition.[76] On 22 May 2021, VSS Unity flew its sixth powered test flight reaching an altitude of 89 km [55 mi].[77] This suborbital flight marked the first ever human space flight from New Mexico; it was piloted by CJ Sturkow (pilot-in-command) and Dave MacKay. The VSS Unity was carried to 44,000 feet by the jet powered launch aircraft Mothership Eve, where it was released to reach its suborbital altitude over New Mexico.[78] A fully crewed test flight took place on 11 July 2021 with two pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci and the four passengers were Richard Branson, Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirisha Bandla.[79] The flight was initially claimed to be successful but it was later revealed Unity briefly stepped outside the airspace that had been reserved for it and the FAA were not informed as required. The FAA grounded Virgin Galactic's space planes before allowing a resumption of flights after some changes to procedures including reserving a larger volume of airspace.[80]

On 14 October 2021, Virgin Galactic announced that an upgrade program for Unity and Eve would begin, delaying future commercial flights to mid 2022. This followed material analysis that required further analysis.[81][82]

Spaceship III


The first Spaceship III, VSS Imagine, was rolled out on 30 March 2021 and it was indicated there is ground testing to do before glide test flights should commence not earlier than Summer 2021.[83]

List of launches


SpaceShipOne Flights


On 17 December 2003—on the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers first powered flight of an aircraftSpaceShipOne, piloted by Brian Binnie on Flight 11P, made its first rocket-powered flight and became the first privately built craft to achieve supersonic flight.[84]: 8 

SpaceShipOne landing

All of the flights of SpaceShipOne were from the Mojave Airport Civilian Flight Test Center. Flights were numbered, starting with flight 01 on May 20, 2003. One or two letters are appended to the number to indicate the type of mission. An appended C indicates that the flight was a captive carry, G indicates an unpowered glide, and P indicates a powered flight. If the actual flight differs in category from the intended flight, two letters are appended: the first indicating the intended mission and the second the mission actually performed.

SpaceShipOne flights
Flight Date Top speed Altitude Duration Pilot
01C May 20, 2003 14.63 km[85] 1 h 48 min uncrewed
02C July 29, 2003 14 km 2 h 06 min Mike Melvill
03G August 7, 2003 278 km/h 14.33 km[85] 19 min 00 s Mike Melvill
04GC August 27, 2003 370 km/h[85] 14 km 1 h 06 min Mike Melvill
05G August 27, 2003 370 km/h 14.69 km[85] 10 min 30 s Mike Melvill
06G September 23, 2003 213 km/h 14.26 km[85] 12 min 15 s Mike Melvill
07G October 17, 2003 241 km/h 14.08 km[85] 17 min 49 s Mike Melvill
08G November 14, 2003 213 km/h 14.42 km[85] 19 min 55 s Peter Siebold
09G November 19, 2003 213 km/h 14.72 km[85] 12 min 25 s Mike Melvill
10G December 4, 2003 213 km/h 14.75 km[85] 13 min 14 s Brian Binnie
11P December 17, 2003 Mach 1.2 20.67 km[85] 18 min 10 s Brian Binnie
12G March 11, 2004 232 km/h 14.78 km[85] 18 min 30 s Peter Siebold
13P April 8, 2004 Mach 1.6 32.00 km[85] 16 min 27 s Peter Siebold
14P May 13, 2004 Mach 2.5 64.43 km[85] 20 min 44 s Mike Melvill
15P June 21, 2004 Mach 2.9 100.124 km[85] 24 min 05 s Mike Melvill
16P September 29, 2004 Mach 2.92 102.93 km[85] 24 min 11 s Mike Melvill
17P October 4, 2004 Mach 3.09 112.014 km[85] 23 min 56 s Brian Binnie
North American X-15Space ShuttleBuranSpaceShipOneBoeing X-37Atlas V
SpaceShipOne ranks among the world's first spaceplanes in the first 50 years of human spaceflight, with the North American X-15, Space Shuttle, Buran, and Boeing X-37. SpaceShipOne is the second spaceplane to have launched from a mother ship, preceded only by the North American X-15.
The flights were accompanied by two chase planes—an Extra 300 owned and flown by Chuck Coleman, and a Beechcraft Starship.[86]



VSS Enterprise flights



Code Detail
GFxx Glide Flight
CCxx Captive Carry Flight
CFxx Cold Flow Flight
PFxx Powered Flight
Fxx Feathering deployed
Flight designation Date Duration Maximum altitude Top speed Pilot / co-pilot Notes
41 / GF01 10 October 2010 13 min 46,000 feet (14,000 m) 180 knots (210 mph; 330 km/h) EAS 2 g Siebold / Alsbury
44 / GF02 28 October 2010 10 min, 51 sec 230 knots (260 mph; 430 km/h) EAS 3 g Stucky / Alsbury
45 / GF03 17 November 2010 11 min, 39 sec 246 knots (283 mph; 456 km/h) EAS 3.5 g Siebold / Nichols
47 / GF04 13 January 2011 11 min, 34 sec 250 knots (290 mph; 460 km/h) EAS 3.8 g Stucky / Nichols
56 / GF05 22 April 2011 14 min, 31 sec Siebold / Shane
57 / GF06 27 April 2011 16 min, 7 sec Stucky / Alsbury
58 / GF07 4 May 2011 11 min, 5 sec 51,500 feet (15,700 m) 15,500 feet per minute (4,700 m/min) Siebold / Nichols F01
59 / GF08 10 May 2011 13 min, 2 sec Stucky / Shane
60 / GF09 19 May 2011 11 min, 32 sec Siebold / Binnie
61 / GF10 25 May 2011 10 min, 14 sec Above 50,000 feet (15,000 m) Stucky / Binnie F02
62 / (CC12) 9 June 2011 Siebold / Shane Release failure during flight intended as GF11
64 / GF11 14 June 2011 13 min, 18 sec Siebold / Shane
65 / GF12 15 June 2011 10 min, 32 sec Stucky / Nichols
66 / GF13 21 June 2011 8 min, 55 sec Siebold / Nichols
67 / GF14 23 June 2011 7 min, 33 sec Stucky / Nichols
68 / GF15 27 June 2011 7 min, 39 sec Siebold / Binnie
73 / GF16 29 September 2011 7 min, 15 sec Stucky / Nichols / Persall F03
87 / GF17 26 June 2012 11 min, 22 sec Siebold / Alsbury
88 / GF18 29 June 2012 13 min Stucky / Mackay
90 / GF19 18 July 2012 10 min, 39 sec Siebold / Nichols
91 / GF20 2 August 2012 8 min Stucky / Nichols F04
92 / GF21 7 August 2012 9 min, 52 sec Siebold / Colmer F05
93 / GF22 11 August 2012 8 min, 2 sec Stucky / Binnie
109 / GF23 19 December 2012 13 min, 24 sec Stucky / Alsbury
113 / GF24 3 April 2013 9 min Stucky / Nichols F06
114 / CF01 12 April 2013 10 min, 48 sec Stucky / Alsbury
115 / PF01[91][92] 29 April 2013 13 min 56,000 feet (17,000 m) Mach 1.22 Stucky / Alsbury
130 / GF25 25 July 2013 11 min, 52 sec Stucky / Mackay
131 / GF26 8 August 2013 10 min Stucky / Mackay F07
132 / PF02 5 September 2013 14 min 69,000 feet (21,000 m) Mach 1.43 Stucky / Nichols F08
141 / GF27 11 December 2013. 11 min Stucky / Masucci
147 / PF03 10 January 2014 12 min, 43 sec 72,000 feet (22,000 m)[93] Mach 1.4 Mackay / Stucky[94] F09
149 / GF28 17 January 2014 14 min, 12 sec Siebold / Sturckow
156 / GF29[95] 29 July 2014 12 min Masucci / Siebold
164 / CF02[95] 28 August 2014 13 min Siebold / Alsbury
170 / GF30[96] 7 October 2014 10 min, 30 sec Siebold / Sturckow[97] F10
?? / PF04 31 October 2014 0 min, 13 sec roughly 50,000 feet (15,000 m)[98] ? (at least Mach 0.92) Siebold / Alsbury[99] Unintended feathering destroys vehicle in-flight

VSS Unity flights

Code Detail
GFxx Glide Flight
CCxx Captive Carry Flight
CFxx Cold Flow Flight
PFxx Powered Flight
Fxx Feathering deployed
Flight designation Date Duration Maximum altitude Top speed Pilot / co-pilot / passengers Notes
01 / CC01 8 September 2016 15.2 km (50,000 ft) Stucky / Mackay [100]
02 / CC02 1 November 2016 Strong winds, no release during flight intended as GF01[101]
03 / CC03 3 November 2016 Strong winds, no release during second attempt at GF01
04 / CC04 30 November 2016 Test of minor modifications
05 / GF01 3 December 2016 10 minutes[102] 16.8 km (55,000 ft) Mach 0.6 Stucky / Mackay First Glide Flight[103][104][105][106]
06 / GF02 22 December 2016 Stucky / Mackay [107]
07 / GF03 24 February 2017 Sturckow / Mackay 3rd Glide Flight
08 / GF04 1 May 2017 Stucky / Masucci F01[108]
09 / CF01 1 June 2017 Mackay / Sturckow [109]
10 / GF06 4 August 2017 Mackay / Sturckow First flight with major propulsion components aboard.[110][111]
11 / GF07 11 January 2018 Mach 0.9 Stucky / Masucci [112][113][114][115]
12 / PF01 5 April 2018 25.7 km (84,300 ft) Mach 1.87 Stucky / Mackay F02[116]
13 / PF02 29 May 2018 34.9 km (114,501 ft)[117][118] Mach 1.9 Mackay / Stucky Test of changed center of gravity as passenger seats carried for first time. F03[119]
14 / PF03 26 July 2018 52.1 km (170,800 ft)[120] Mach 2.47[120] Mackay / Masucci[121] Reached Mesosphere for first time.[122]
15 / VP-03 13 December 2018 82.7 km (271,330 ft) Mach 2.9[123] Stucky / Sturckow Reached outer space for first time according to the US definition of the space border.[124]
16 / VF-01 22 February 2019 89.9 km (295,007 ft)[125][126] Mach 3.04 [125] Mackay / Masucci / Moses[125] Carried third crew member (1 in the passenger cabin) for the first time [125]
17 / GF08 1 May 2020 15.24 km (50,000 ft)[127] Mach 0.7 [127] Mackay / Sturckow [127] First flight from New Mexico [127]
18 / GF09 25 June 2020 15.54 km (51,000 ft)[128] Mach 0.85 [128] Stucky / Masucci [128]
19 12 December 2020 Mackay / Sturckow First attempted crewed spaceflight from New Mexico, aborted due to computer malfunction, engine ignited and automatically turned off.[129]
21 / VF-03 22 May 2021 89.23 km (55.45 mi) Mackay / Sturckow First crewed spaceflight (above 50 miles) from New Mexico[130]
22 11 July 2021 86.1 km (53.5 mi)[131] Mackay / Masucci / Sirisha Bandla, Colin Bennett, Beth Moses, Richard Branson First fully crewed[note 1] flight included Richard Branson.
24 / GF10 26 April 2023 9 minutes 13.5 km (47,000 ft) Sturckow / Pecile [132]
25 25 May 2023 14 minutes 87.2 km (54.2 mi) Mach 2.94 Masucci / Sturckow / Moses / Mays / Gilbert / Huie [133][134]
Galactic 01 29 June 2023 13:50 minutes 85.1 km (52.9 mi) Mach 2.88 Masucci / Pecile / Villadei / Carlucci / Pandolfi / Bennett First VSS Unity commercial service flight, carrying members of the Italian Air Force.[135]
Galactic 02 10 August 2023 15:38 minutes 88.5 km (55.0 mi) Mach 3.00 Sturckow / Latimer / Moses / Goodwin / Schahaff / Mayers First VSS Unity flight carrying a private astronaut.[136]
Galactic 03 8 September 2023 12:37 minutes 88.6 km (55.1 mi) Mach 2.95 Masucci / Pecile / Moses / Baxter / Reynard / Nash[137]
Galactic 04 6 October 2023 14:23 minutes 87.4 km (54.3 mi) Mach 2.95 Latimer / Sturckow / Moses / Rosano / Beattie / Salim[138]
Galactic 05 2 November 2023 14:20 minutes 87.2 km (54.2 mi) Mach 2.96 Masucci / Latimer / Bennett / Stern / Gerardi / Maisonrouge[139]
Galactic 06 26 January 2024 88.8 km (55.2 mi) Mach 2.98 Sturckow / Pecile / Borozdina / Vaughn / Haider / Kornswiet
Galactic 07 8 June 2024 87.5 km (54.4 mi) Mach 2.96 Pecile / Janjua / Atasever/ Manenti /Pergament / Sadhwani Final Unity flight



Potential collaboration with NASA


In February 2007, Virgin announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding with NASA to explore the potential for collaboration,[140][141] but this produced only a relatively small contract in 2011 of up to $4.5 million for research flights.[142]

OneWeb satellite Internet access provider


Virgin Group in January 2015 announced an investment into the OneWeb satellite constellation providing world Internet access service of WorldVu. Virgin Galactic would take a share of the launch contracts to launch the satellites into their 1,200 km (750 mi) orbits. The prospective launches were to use the LauncherOne system.[143][144] In 2017 the LauncherOne business was spun off into Virgin Orbit, which ceased operations in 2023 following bankruptcy.[145]

Collaboration with Boom Technology


Virgin Galactic and the Virgin Group collaborated with Boom Technology in order to create a new supersonic passenger transporter as a successor to the Concorde. This new supersonic plane would fly at Mach 2.2 (similar to Concorde) for a 3-hour trans-Atlantic flight (half of standard), projected to cost $2,500–10,000 per seat (half of Concorde) for a load of 45 passengers (the Concorde held 100). It was anticipated that with the accumulation of knowledge since the design of Concorde, the new plane would be safer and cheaper with better fuel economy, operating costs, and aerodynamics. Boom would collaborate with Virgin's The Spaceship Company for design, engineering, and flight-test support, and manufacturing.[146][147][148]

The initial model would be the Boom Technology XB-1 "Baby Boom" Supersonic Demonstrator 1/3-size prototype. It would be capable of trans-Pacific flight, LA-to-Sydney in 6.75 hours, traveling at 2,335 km/h (1,451 mph). XB-1 would be equipped with General Electric J85 engines, Honeywell avionics, with composite structures fabricated by Blue Force using TenCate Advanced Composites carbon fibre products. Virgin Galactic had optioned 10 units.[147][148] These options expired in 2020.[citation needed]

Collaboration with Under Armour


On 24 January 2019, Virgin Galactic announced a partnership with Under Armour for the fabrication of space suits for passengers and pilots of SpaceShipTwo. Under Armour would also create uniforms for Virgin Galactic employees working at Spaceport America. The full range known as the UA | VG (Under Armour | Virgin Galactic) built with UA's new Intelliknit fabric was revealed later, ahead of Richard Branson's inaugural commercial flight.[149][150] This range included a base layer, the space suit and footwear. It was said that the base layer would enhance performance and blood flow during the high and zero G portions of flight and the liner of the spacesuit was made up of new fabrics such as Tencel Luxe, SpinIt and Nomex, used for temperature control and moisture management.[151]

Personnel and passengers


Key personnel


David Mackay, former RAF test pilot, was named chief pilot for Virgin Galactic in 2011[152] and chief test-pilot.[153] Steve Isakowitz was appointed as Virgin Galactic's president in June 2013.[154] In October 2016, Mike Moses replaced Steve Isakowitz as president; Isakowitz moved to Aerospace Corp. to become president and CEO; Moses was promoted from VP Operations, and was once a NASA flight director and shuttle integration manager.[155]



Pilot corps


Aircraft and spacecraft




White Knight Two

White Knight Two in the air
White Knight Two on the ground

The White Knight Two is a special aeroplane built as the mothership and launch-platform for the spacecraft SpaceShipTwo and the uncrewed launch vehicle LauncherOne (LauncherOne never launched from underneath a White Knight Two). The mothership is a large fixed-wing aircraft with two hulls linked together by a central wing. Two aircraft were planned – VMS Eve[159] and VMS Spirit of Steve Fossett.[160][161][162] On May 22, 2021 Mothership Eve was used to carry VSS Unity to a launch altitude of 44,000 feet.[78]

Boeing 747


The LauncherOne system used a Boeing 747-400 aircraft, renamed Cosmic Girl, which was acquired from Virgin Atlantic.[163][164] This was spun off into Virgin Orbit with the LauncherOne business in 2017.

Generation II mothership


Virgin Galactic plans to have generation 2 motherships ready for 2025, for the next-generation Delta-class spaceplanes. In July 2022, Virgin announced it would partner with Boeing's Aurora Flight Sciences to design and build the next generation of mothership.[165][needs update]

Boeing ended work on the contract in 2023 and has now filed suit against Virgin Galactic over unpaid bills according to a report in SpaceNews.[166]



SpaceShip Two


Richard Branson unveiled the rocket plane on 7 December 2009, announcing that, after testing, the plane would carry fare-paying passengers ticketed for short duration journeys just above the atmosphere. Virgin Group would initially launch from a base in New Mexico before extending operations around the globe. Built from lightweight carbon-composite materials and powered by a hybrid rocket motor, SS2 was based on the Ansari X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne concept – a rocket plane that was lifted initially by a carrier aircraft before independent launch. SS1 became the world's first private spaceship with a series of high-altitude flights in 2004.[167]

The programme was delayed after three Scaled Composites employees – Todd Ivens, Eric Blackwell and Charles May – were killed in an accident in Mojave on 26 July 2007, where the detonation of a tank of nitrous oxide destroyed a test stand.[168] They had been observing the test from behind a chain-link fence that offered no protection from the shrapnel and debris when the tank exploded. Three other employees were injured in the blast and the company was fined for breaches of health and safety rules. The cause of the accident has never been made public.[169]

The successor to SS1, SS2 was twice as large, measuring 18 m (60 ft) in length; whereas SpaceShipOne could carry a single pilot and two passengers, SS2 was planned to have a crew of two and room for six passengers. By August 2013, 640 customers had signed up for a flight,[170] initially at a ticket price of $200,000 per person, but raised to $250,000 in May 2013.[171] Tickets were available from more than 140 "space agents" worldwide.[172]

SpaceShipTwo's projected performance

SpaceShipTwo was designed to fly to a height of 110 km,[173] going beyond the defined boundary of space (100 km) and lengthening the experience of weightlessness for its passengers. The spacecraft would reach a top speed of 4000 km/h (2485 mph). On 23 May 2014, Virgin Galactic announced that they had abandoned use of the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) nitrous-oxide-rubber motor for SpaceShipTwo;[174] on 24 July 2014, SNC confirmed that they had also abandoned use of this motor for their Dream Chaser space shuttle.[175] Future testing was to see SpaceShipTwo powered by a polyamide grain powered motor. As of July 2021 the maximum height reached has been 89.9 km.[176]

In honor of the science-fiction series Star Trek, the first ship was named after the fictional starship Enterprise. To reenter the atmosphere, SpaceShipTwo folded its wings up and then returned them to their original position for an unpowered descent flight back onto the runway. The craft had a very limited cross-range capability, and until other planned spaceports would be built worldwide, it had to land in the area where it started. Further spaceports were planned in Abu Dhabi and elsewhere, with the intention that the spaceline would have a worldwide availability and commodity in the future.

There was a series of delays to the SS2 flight test vehicle becoming operational, amidst repeated assurances from Virgin Galactic marketing that operational flights were only a year or two out. The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2014 that there has been "tension between Mr. Branson's upbeat projections and the persistent hurdles that challenged the company's hundreds of technical experts."[177] The company responded that "the company and its contractors 'have internal milestones, such as schedule estimates and goals, but the companies are driven by safety and the completion of the flight test program before moving into commercial service.' Virgin Galactic's schedules have always been consistent with internal schedules of its contractors and changes have 'never impacted flight safety'."[177]

SpaceShip III


SpaceShip III is an evolved version of SpaceShipTwo.

Delta-class spaceship


Virgin Galactic plans to have its third generation spaceship, the Delta class, ready for testing in 2025 and commercial flight in 2026, along with the next generation of mothership.[165] The Delta class is to be functionally the same as the SpaceShip III class, but it has been redesigned for higher production volumes.[178][179]


SpaceShipTwo (spaceships)
Name Commissioned Decommissioned Status
VSS Enterprise 2010 2014 Destroyed due to in flight anomaly
VSS Unity 2016 2024 Retired
SpaceShip III (spaceships)
VSS Imagine[180] Cancelled; never flown
VSS Inspire Cancelled; never flown
WhiteKnightTwo (motherships)
Name Commissioned Decommissioned Status
VMS Eve 2008 In use In use
Boeing 747 (motherships)
Name Commissioned Decommissioned Status
Cosmic Girl 2015 2017 Transferred from Virgin Galactic to Virgin Orbit in 2017

Commercial spaceflight locations


In 2008 it was announced that test launches for its fleet of two White Knight Two mother ships and five or more SpaceShipTwo tourist suborbital spacecraft would take place from the Mojave Spaceport, where Scaled Composites was constructing the spacecraft.[181][needs update] An international architectural competition for the design of Virgin Galactic's operating base, Spaceport America in New Mexico, saw the contract awarded to URS and Foster + Partners architects.[182] In the same year Virgin Galactic announced that it would eventually operate in Europe out of Spaceport Sweden[183][needs update] or even from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.[184]

While the original plan called for flight operations to transfer from the California desert to the new spaceport upon completion of the spaceport,[181] at the time Virgin Galactic had yet to complete the development and test program of SpaceShipTwo. In October 2010, the 3,000 m (10,000 ft) runway at Spaceport America was opened, with SpaceShipTwo "VSS Enterprise" shipped to the site carried underneath the fuselage of Virgin Galactic's mothership Eve.[185]

Other operations and aspirations




LauncherOne was an orbital launch vehicle that Virgin Galactic had begun working on by late 2008,[186] with the technical specifications defined in some detail in late 2009.[187] The LauncherOne configuration was proposed to be an expendable, two-stage, liquid-fueled rocket, envisaged to be air-launched from a White Knight Two.[188] This would make it a similar configuration to that used by Orbital Sciences' Pegasus, or a smaller version of the StratoLaunch.

LauncherOne was publicly announced in July 2012. It was intended to launch "smallsat" payloads of 200 kilograms (440 lb) into Earth orbit. Several commercial customers initially contracted for launches, including GeoOptics, Skybox Imaging, Spaceflight Services, and Planetary Resources. Both Surrey Satellite Technology and Sierra Nevada Space Systems began developing satellite buses "optimized to the design of LauncherOne".[189][190]

In 2015, Virgin Galactic established a 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) research, development, and manufacturing center for LauncherOne at the Long Beach Airport.[191] The company reported in March 2015 that they were on schedule to begin test flights of LauncherOne with its Newton 3 engine by the end of 2016.[192] On 25 June 2015, the company signed a contract with OneWeb Ltd. for 39 satellite launches for its satellite constellation with an option for an additional 100 launches.[193]

In March 2017, Virgin Galactic spun off its 200-member LauncherOne team into a new company called Virgin Orbit.[194] Virgin Orbit went bankrupt in 2023 after a few space launches.

Point to point suborbital travel


In 2016 TSC, Virgin Galactic and the Virgin Group began a collaboration with Boom Technology to develop a supersonic trans-oceanic passenger jetliner.[147][148] A mission concept review of a Mach 3 vehicle design was carried out.[195]



Virgin Galactic is not the only corporation pursuing suborbital spacecraft for tourism.

Blue Origin


Blue Origin was developing suborbital flights with its New Shepard spacecraft at the same time as Virgin Galactic developed their vehicles. Although initially more secretive[196] about its plans, Jeff Bezos' company ended up developing a spacecraft that takes off and lands vertically and could carry six (at sometime planned four) people to the edge of space. New Shepard first flew unmanned above the Karman line and landed in 2015[197] and the same vehicle was reflown unmanned to above the Karman line again in 2016.[198]

On 20 July 2021, Blue Origin flew their first crewed flight and first paying customer, Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen. Also on the flight were Bezos himself, his younger brother, and aviation legend Wally Funk.[199]

Commercial Crew Program


On 16 September 2014, SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts as part of NASA's CCtCap program to develop their Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, respectively. Both are capsule designs to bring crew to orbit, a different commercial market than that addressed by Virgin Galactic.[citation needed]



Now-defunct XCOR Aerospace had also worked on rocket-powered aircraft during many of the years that Virgin Galactic had; XCOR's Lynx suborbital vehicle was under development for more than a decade, and its predecessor, the XCOR EZ-Rocket experimental rocket powered airplane did actually take flight, but the company closed its doors in 2017.[citation needed]

Notable accomplishments


First launch of founder into space [note 2]


On 11 July 2021 Virgin Galactic became the first spaceflight company to independently launch a founder of the company into space, using the 50-mile (80 km) high US definition of space, having flown founder Richard Branson above the 50-mile (80 km) mark on flight Unity 22[note 2]. This suborbital flight was accomplished using the twin-fuselage aircraft launch platform VMS Eve, coupled together with VSS Unity, enabling Branson, three other employee passengers and the two pilots to experience approximately three minutes of weightlessness above Earth's atmosphere. The entire flight lasted approximately one hour, taking off and landing at Spaceport America facility near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

This flight had originally been scheduled to occur later in the summer; however, shortly after the announcement of competitor Blue Origin's plans to fly Amazon founder Jeff Bezos into space on 20 July 2021, the Virgin Galactic flight was rescheduled to occur on 11 July 2021. At the time Virgin Galactic had been certified by the FAA to provide commercial spaceflight travel,[200] and its accounts reported that over 600 commercial passengers had already signed up. The August 2021 price was US$450,000 per person.[201]

First commercial flight


Virgin Galactic (at some point) planned to begin commercial spaceflight service in 2022;[202][203] and said it was in the final phases of returning its suborbital spaceplane to commercial service in Feb 2022.[204] The first commercial flight took place on 29 June 2023 with three outside passengers (people not employed by Virgin Galactic).[205] The 70-minute mission was purchased for the Italian Air Force and the Italian National Research Council. The company at the time had a backlog of 800 or so individuals who've bought tickets to ride on Unity. The approximate launch cadence at the time was about one launch a month.

See also



  1. ^ The SpaceShipTwo vehicles (like VSS Unity) were originally designed for 8 people, 6 passengers and 2 pilots, so whether this flight was fully-crewed is debatable. But it is true that at the time of this flight, only 6 seats (4 passengers, 2 pilots) were installed in VSS Unity, so in this sense this flight was fully-crewed. Also, no SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity in particular, ever had more than 6 seats installed and never flew with more than 6 people (2 pilots, 4 passengers) onboard, so in this sense this flight was also fully-crewed.
  2. ^ a b The claim of being the first spaceflight company to independently launch a civilian into space on a suborbital flight using the 50-mile (80 km) high definition of space can be disputed as this had been done already in 2004 (see SpaceShipOne, which actually reached the 100 km (62 mi) Kármán line level). If it is meant that Virgin Galactic was the first to launch a civilian non-pilot into space on a suborbital flight, this was done already in 2019 with Beth Moses. Furthermore, because of Mr. Branson's affiliation with Virgin Galactic, it is impossible to distinguish whether his flight was done as a private person for amusement, also as a space tourist, or as a company employee on company time and company pay (also whether Branson was advertising/marketing the company, and thus was working during the flight in the capacity of company officer for the company, and was not a space tourist at all); this latter case (working during the flight) would have been a similar situation as Beth Moses or the pilots that flew Virgin Galactic's prior spaceflights were in their respective spaceflights. So it is not clear whether Mr. Branson's flight can be considered the first space tourist flight into suborbital space either; and if it cannot, then the flight is not a "first" as many people, including the above-mentioned Beth Moses, have made a spaceflight because of their work without being an astronaut, some even an orbital flight, and as Ms. Moses was in a similar situation as Mr. Branson (working for Virgin Galactic, flying suborbitally in the passenger cabin, i.e. not as a pilot) it is very hard to see in which way the 11 July 2021 flight, and especially Mr. Branson's role in it, constituted a "first of something in space" (as most of the "firsts of something in space" would have been accomplished prior to the 2021 Branson flight, for example by the 2019 Moses flight). However, as an exception to the previous statement that the 11 July 2021 flight and Mr. Branson's participation in it did not achieve any "firsts in space", let it be said that it is true that the 11 July 2021 flight was the first time more than 3 people flew suborbitally on a (USAF/NASA) spaceflight and the first time more than 1 passenger (i.e. non-pilot) flew on a suborbital (USAF/NASA) spaceflight, and Mr. Branson was the first founder of a spaceflight company to fly to (USAF/NASA) space on his own company's craft, all the above using the USAF/NASA definition of space as above 50 miles. Furthermore, all of the above concerns only suborbital spaceflights (above 50 miles) as there have been numerous orbital space flights of various space tourists (civilian, non-pilot, flying for amusement or for work, etc.) over the years and decades, e.g. Dennis Tito in 2001.


  1. ^ "Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. 2022 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 28 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. SEC Sch 13D". 10 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b Wattles, Jackie (15 December 2018). "Meet the pilots of Virgin Galactic's first flight to space". CNN Business. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Branson unveils space tourism jett". BBC News. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  5. ^ "VP Mike Pence visits Virgin Galactic and Stratolaunch space ventures in Mojave". GeekWire. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Richard Branson says he's 6 months from going to space – but Mars belongs to Elon Musk". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is almost ready to launch into outer space". 11 October 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Virgin Galactic founder says spaceflights could be months away". KOB.com. 9 October 2017. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  9. ^ @virgingalactic (3 August 2020). "Virgin Galactic unveils Mach 3 vehicle design for high speed travel. This vehicle would have capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully reaches space". BBC. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Virgin Galactic tourism rocket ship reaches space in test". San Jose Mercury News. Bay Area News Group. Associated Press. 4 December 2018. p. A4.
  12. ^ Betz, Eric (27 November 2023). "The Kármán Line: Where space begins". Astronomy Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  13. ^ Prang, Allison (15 February 2022). "You Can Now Sign Up to Go to Space With Virgin Galactic". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Blue Origin to increase New Shepard launches in 2022". 18 February 2022.
  15. ^ Sheetz, Michael (15 June 2023). "Virgin Galactic sets first commercial space tourism flight for this month; shares spike more than 30%". CNBC. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  16. ^ Sheetz, Michael. "Virgin Galactic spaceflight live updates: First paying customers set for space in key step for tourism". CNBC. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  17. ^ Foust, Jeff (8 May 2024). "Virgin Galactic plans higher mothership flight rate with next-generation spaceplanes". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 May 2024.
  18. ^ Grant Martin (4 August 2008). "Sir Richard Branson's Private Jet". Gadling.
  19. ^ "Window Seat". Travel Daily. 29 January 2011.
  20. ^ "Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company". SPACE.com. 27 July 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  21. ^ [1] Archived November 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Scaled Composites: Projects – FirebirdBiPodSpaceShipTwo Test SummariesWhiteKnightTwo Flight Test SummariesRocketMotorTwo Hot-Fire Test SummariesProjects – Main Landing Page Te..." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  23. ^ "Virgin Galactic Acquires Full Ownership of The Spaceship Company" (Press release). 5 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  24. ^ a b Schreck, Adam. "Abu Dhabi partners with Virgin Galactic spaceship firm". ABC News. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Abu Dhabi's Aabar boosts Virgin Galactic stake". Market Watch. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  26. ^ Kleinman, Mark (12 June 2014). "Google In Talks To Take Virgin Galactic Stake". SkyNews. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Virgin Galactic launches (on the New York stock exchange)". The Guardian. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  28. ^ "SPCE still has legs, but faces challengers". 1 May 2021.
  29. ^ "SPCE Stock: Why Virgin Galactic Is a Better Buy Than AMC". InvestorPlace. 9 July 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  30. ^ "Virgin Galactic shares blast off after Richard Branson announces spaceflight plans". Fortune. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  31. ^ a b "Ansari X Prize". Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  32. ^ "Captain Kirk signs on for Virgin Galactic Space Ride". soultek.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
  33. ^ "Blast at Desert Spaceport Kills 3". CNN. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  34. ^ Will Whitehorn (27 October 2009). International Astronautical Congress 2009: Civilian Access to Space (video, comments at c. 22:00). Daejeon, Korea: Flightglobal Hyperbola, Rob Coppinger.
  35. ^ "PICTURES: WhiteKnight Two's spoilers get holes".
  36. ^ News – VSS Enterprise's first 'captive carry' flight! | Virgin Galactic Archived 2010-03-24 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ Garside, Juliette (9 October 2014). "Still looking up: former Nasa chief who now nurtures Virgin's spaceflight hopes". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  38. ^ Allen, Nick (8 December 2009). "Richard Branson unveils Virgin Galactic's spaceship Enterprise". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  39. ^ a b Private Eye (September 2014). “Beam us up, Beardie!”, Private Eye, No. 1374, 5–18 September 2014, pg 8. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  40. ^ Klotz, Irene (28 February 2012). "UPDATE 1-Virgin Galactic aims to test fly ship in space this year". Reuters. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  41. ^ "VIRGIN GALACTIC BREAKS SPEED OF SOUND IN FIRST ROCKET-POWERED FLIGHT OF SPACESHIPTWO". Virgin Galactic. 14 May 2013. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  42. ^ "Lost in Space". Sunday Times. 26 January 2014. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  43. ^ Croucher, Martin (May 14, 2013). "UPDATE 1-Virgin Galactic aims to test fly ship in space this year". The National. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  44. ^ "New Heights in Third Supersonic Test Flight". Virgin Galactic. 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  45. ^ Day, Elizabeth (20 July 2014). "Eve Branson: 'I was not saved by Kate Winslet!'". The Observer. London. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  46. ^ "Cracks discovered in WhiteKnightTwo's wings". 11 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  47. ^ Villagran, Laura (11 September 2014). "Virgin Galactic: More delays". Albuquerque Journal. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  48. ^ Ungoed-Thomas, Jon (September 2014). “The $80m Virginauts stranded on Earth”, The Sunday Times, 14 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  49. ^ Porter, Tom (September 2014). “Doubts About Feasibility of Virgin Space Flights, as Branson Announces New Delays”, International Business Times, 14 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  50. ^ a b Shukman, David (31 October 2014). "Virgin Galactic spacecraft crash kills one". BBC News. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  51. ^ Chang, Kenneth; Schwartz, John (31 October 2014). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes in New Setback for Commercial Spaceflight". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  52. ^ "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test". NBC News. 31 October 2014.
  53. ^ "Virgin Galactic Makes a Switch in SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Motor". NBC News. 23 May 2014.
  54. ^ "Pilot actions examined in U.S. crash of Virgin Galactic spacecraft". Reuters. 4 November 2014.
  55. ^ a b "Watch this space". Private Eye. London. 14 November 2014. p. 7.
  56. ^ "Statement from Virgin Galactic 31.10.14". www.virgingalactic.com. 31 October 2014. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  57. ^ Rose, Greg. "Virgin Galactic test flight success". virgin.com. Archived from the original on 27 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  58. ^ Branson, Richard (15 September 2014). "How to Train to be an Astronaut". www.virgin.com. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  59. ^ "One pilot dead as Virgin Galactic spaceship crashes during test flight". Daily Telegraph. 31 October 2014. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  60. ^ "Investigators Cite Inadequate Design Safeguards in SpaceShip Two Crash: NTSB staff questions if pilots fully aware of flight hazards". The Wall Street Journal. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  61. ^ "Pilot Training Fell Short in Virgin Galactic Crash, Investigators Say". The New York Times. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  62. ^ a b "Lack of Consideration for Human Factors Led to In-Flight Breakup of SpaceShipTwo". NTSB. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  63. ^ "NTSB Report Cites Probable Cause Of SpaceShip2 Crash". Aviation Week. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.[permanent dead link]
  64. ^ Burn-Callander, Rebecca (22 August 2015). "Virgin Galactic boldly goes into small satellites, telling future astronauts 'you have to wait'". UK Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  65. ^ Davenport, Christian (2 March 2017). "Richard Branson starting a new venture dedicated to launching small satellites into space". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  66. ^ "New SpaceShipTwo Rollout Friday". AVweb. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  67. ^ "Virgin Galactic unveils new space tourism rocket plane". CBC News. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  68. ^ "Virgin Galactic to Restart Flight Tests of Commercial Spaceship". Bloomberg.
  69. ^ "Virgin Galactic's space programme moves forward as SpaceShipTwo carries out first successful glide test". The Telegraph. 4 December 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  70. ^ Wall, Mike (11 January 2018). "Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity Soars on 7th Glide Flight (Photo)". space.com. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  71. ^ Virgin Galactic Completes 1st Powered Test Flight Since Fatal 2014 Crash. Douglass Messier, Space. 5 April 2018.
  72. ^ Boyle, Alan (26 July 2018). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane sails through third supersonic flight". geekwire.com. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  73. ^ "Virgin Galactic successfully launches tourism rocket ship into space for first time". Sky News. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  74. ^ Bartels, Meghan (22 February 2019). "Virgin Galactic Reaches Space Again, Flies Test Passenger for 1st Time". space.com. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  75. ^ Jackie Wattles (16 November 2020). "Virgin Galactic delays key test flight after pandemic causes shutdowns". CNN. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  76. ^ "Virgin Galactic traces SpaceShipTwo launch abort to bad computer connection". Space.com. 14 December 2020.
  77. ^ "Virgin Galactic rocket plane flies to edge of space". BBC News. 22 May 2021.
  78. ^ a b Niles, Russ (23 May 2021). "Virgin Galactic Hits Space From New Mexico". AVweb. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  79. ^ "Virgin Galactic: Sir Richard Branson rockets to the edge of space". BBC. 11 July 2021.
  80. ^ "Virgin Galactic cleared to resume space flights". BBC. 30 September 2021.
  81. ^ "Virgin Galactic begins planned vehicle enhancement and modification period". 14 October 2021. Archived from the original on 16 October 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  82. ^ "Rocket Report: Virgin Galactic stands down". 15 October 2021.
  83. ^ "Meet VSS Imagine: Virgin Galactic unveils its first SpaceShip III spacecraft". Space.com. 30 March 2021.
  84. ^ Belfiore, Michael (2007). Rocketeers: how a visionary band of business leaders, engineers, and pilots is boldly privatizing space. New York: Smithsonian Books. p. [2]. ISBN 978-0-06-114903-0.
  85. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "SpaceShipOne Flight Tests". Scaled Composites. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010.
  86. ^ Jefferson, Catherine A. "First Private Manned Space Flight". devsite.org. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2007.
  87. ^ "SpaceShipTwo straps on its engine". NBC. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  88. ^ "Space Ship Completes 24th Test Flight in Mojave". Hispanic Business. 4 April 2013. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  89. ^ "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test". 31 October 2014.
  90. ^ SpaceShipTwo (SS2) History, skyrocket.de
  91. ^ "Virgin Galactic Breaks Speed of Sound in First Rocket-Powered Flight of SpaceShipTwo" (Press release). Virgin Galactic. 29 April 2013. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  92. ^ "SpaceShipTwo PF01: SS2 and WK2 preps underway". NewSpaceWatch.com. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  93. ^ "Virgin Galactic Reaches New Heights in Third Supersonic Test Flight" (Press release). Virgin Galactic. 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  94. ^ "Virgin Galactic spaceship makes third powered test flight". Chicago Tribune. 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  95. ^ a b Boyle, Alan (29 August 2014). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Glides Through a Dry Run". NBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  96. ^ Wall, Mike (8 October 2014). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Aces Glide Test Flight". Space.com. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  97. ^ "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Glides Through Test Run". NBC News. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  98. ^ Klotz, Irene (3 November 2014). "Rocket plane's tail activated prematurely in fatal crash". Reuters. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  99. ^ Pope, Stephen (31 October 2014). "SpaceShipTwo crashes in Mojave Desert". flyingmag.com. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  100. ^ "Virgin Galactic: SpaceShipTwo beginnt Flugerprobung". flugrevue.de. 13 September 2016. Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  101. ^ "Virgin Galactic Postpones 1st Glide Test with New SpaceShipTwo". space.com. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  102. ^ "Update from Mojave: Successful First Glide Flight Test for VSS Unity – Virgin Galactic". Virgin Galactic. 3 December 2016. Archived from the original on 13 May 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  103. ^ "Bransons "VSS Unity" absolvierte ersten Gleitflug". krone.at. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  104. ^ "Virgin Galactic spaceship makes first glide flight". phys.org. 3 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  105. ^ David Millward (4 December 2016). "Virgin Galactic's space programme moves forward as SpaceShipTwo carries out first successful glide test". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  106. ^ Weston Williams (5 December 2016). "Space tourism: Virgin Galactic makes successful glide test". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  107. ^ Boyle, Alan (22 December 2016). "Virgin Galactic sneaks in just one more SpaceShipTwo glide test to cap off 2016". GeekWire. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  108. ^ "Update from Mojave: First Feather Flight of VSS Unity Completed". Virgin Galactic. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  109. ^ Wall, Mike (1 June 2017). "Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity Makes 5th 'Glide Flight' (Photos)". space.com. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  110. ^ "Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity edges closer to space". newatlas.com. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  111. ^ "Update from Mojave: VSS Unity Flies with Propulsion Systems Installed and Live". Virgin Galactic. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  112. ^ Camacho, Marian (11 January 2018). "SpaceShip Two test flight a success". kob.com. Archived from the original on 29 March 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  113. ^ Krishna, Swapna (11 January 2018). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is almost ready for powered tests". engadget.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  114. ^ "Update from Mojave: VSS Unity successfully completes high speed glide flight". virgingalactic.com. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  115. ^ Wall, Mike (11 January 2018). "Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity Soars on 7th Glide Flight (Photo)". space.com. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  116. ^ Sheetz, Michael (5 April 2018). "Virgin Galactic completes first rocket powered, supersonic flight of new spacecraft Unity". cnbc.com. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  117. ^ "The second powered flight of Virgin Galactic's spaceplane featured extra passenger seats". theverge.com. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  118. ^ "Second SpaceShipTwo makes second powered test flight – SpaceNews.com". spacenews.com. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  119. ^ Wall, Mike (29 May 2018). "Success! Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity Space Plane Aces 2nd Powered Test Flight". space.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  120. ^ a b "Into the Mesosphere at Mach 2". Virgin Galactic. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  121. ^ Boyle, Alan (26 July 2018). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane sails through third supersonic flight". geekwire.com. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  122. ^ Weitering, Hanneke; July 26, Space com Staff Writer; ET, 2018 03:26pm. "Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity Space Plane Aces Test Flight, Reaching Mesosphere for the 1st Time". Space.com. Retrieved 14 December 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  123. ^ Grush, Lauren (13 December 2018). "Virgin Galactic's spaceplane finally makes it to space for the first time". theverge.com. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  124. ^ "Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully reaches space". BBC. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  125. ^ a b c d "Virgin Galactic". www.virgingalactic.com. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  126. ^ Bartels, Meghan (22 February 2019). "Virgin Galactic Reaches Space Again, Flies Test Passenger for 1st Time". space.com. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  127. ^ a b c d "Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo Completes First Flight From Spaceport America". www.virgingalactic.com. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  128. ^ a b c "Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo Completes Second Flight From Spaceport America". www.virgingalactic.com. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  129. ^ Gebhardt, Chris; Burghardt, Thomas (12 December 2020). "VSS Unity aborts after engine start, safely lands with crew back at Spaceport America".
  130. ^ "Virgin Galactic rocket plane flies to edge of space". BBC News. 22 May 2021.
  131. ^ "Virgin Galactic Successfully Completes First Fully Crewed Spaceflight". 11 July 2021.
  132. ^ "Virgin Galactic completes glide flight from Spaceport America". Virgin Galactic (Press release). 26 April 2023. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  133. ^ "Virgin Galactic completes successful spaceflight". Virgin Galactic (Press release). 25 May 2023. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  134. ^ "Virgin Galactic completes Unity 25 spaceflight in key final test before commercial service". CNBC News. 25 May 2023.
  135. ^ Jonathan McDowell [@planet4589] (29 June 2023). "Galactic 01 stats: launch 1528:38 UTC, apogee 85.1 km, flight time from drop to main gear touchdown 13m50s. Drop location EBR P3 in my launch points list (107.0W 33.3N)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  136. ^ Jonathan McDowell [@planet4589] (10 August 2023). "I don't quite agree with these numbers. I have takeoff of White Knight 2 at 1429:45 UTC (in agreement with their 8.30 am MDT) but landing of SS2 at 1532:48 UTC (9.32 am MDT). Release time 1517:10 UTC and SS2 free flight time 15:38 with apogee 88.5 km" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  137. ^ "Core memory unlocked. Welcome to space, #Galactic03. Congratulations, 014, 015, and 016!". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  138. ^ "Virgin Galactic completes fifth successful flight in five months". Virgin Galactic (Press release). 6 October 2023. Retrieved 7 October 2023.
  139. ^ "Virgin Galactic Completes Sixth Successful Spaceflight in Six Months". Virgin Galactic (Press release). 2 November 2023. Retrieved 3 November 2023.
  140. ^ Memorandum of Understanding Between Virgin Galactic, LLC and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center. www.nasa.gov.
  141. ^ "NASA Provides Additional Information on Agreement With Virgin Galactic (With MOU Text)". www.spaceref.com. 22 February 2007.
  142. ^ "NASA Buys Flights on Virgin Galactic's Private Spaceship". Fox News. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  143. ^ Peter B. de Selding (15 January 2015). "Virgin, Qualcomm Invest in OneWeb Satellite Internet Venture". SpaceNews.
  144. ^ Steve Dent (17 January 2015). "Virgin wants to launch 'world's largest' array of internet satellites". engadget.
  145. ^ Sharmila Kuthunur (24 May 2023). "Virgin Orbit shuts down after selling key assets to 3 aerospace companies". Space.com. Retrieved 9 June 2024.
  146. ^ Hugo Martin (3 December 2016). "Supersonic passenger planes may begin test flights next year". Los Angeles Times.
  147. ^ a b c Justin Bachman (4 December 2016). "Colorado-based Boom Technology is bringing back supersonic. But will the airlines buy it?". Bloomberg News. The Denver Post.
  148. ^ a b c Aiden Burgess (22 November 2016). "Boom Technology reveals commercial supersonic aircraft prototype with support from Virgin". The Manufacturer.
  149. ^ "Virgin Galactic and Under Armour partnership – collectSPACE: Messages". www.collectspace.com. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  150. ^ "UA Intelliknit FW19". UA Newsroom. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  151. ^ "UA Reveals Technical Spacewear for Virgin Galactic". UA Newsroom. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  152. ^ The Telegraph (London), "How one boy's dream of space flight looks like coming true", Philip Sherwell, July 2, 2011
  153. ^ Coventry Telegraph, "Spaceship pilot to visit Coventry University", June 13, 2011
  154. ^ In Year of Firsts, Virgin Galactic Names Alum as President Archived 2013-07-17 at the Wayback Machine. Alum.mit.edu (2013-07-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-27.
  155. ^ Jeff Foust (13 October 2016). "Mike Moses named Virgin Galactic president". Space News.
  156. ^ a b c Virgin Galactic (9 June 2015). "Virgin Galactic – Introducing our Pilot Corps". YouTube.
  157. ^ Bureau, Lauren Villagran | Journal Staff Writer-Las Cruces. "Woman joins Virgin Galactic test pilot team". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  158. ^ "Virgin Galactic selects Nicola Pecile as new pilot". 31 August 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  159. ^ "Spaceship Company unveils design of SpaceShipTwo". Pravda Online. 23 January 2008. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
  160. ^ Branson, Richard (10 October 2007). "My Friend, Steve Fossett". Time. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  161. ^ Burack, Ari (10 October 2007). "Sir Richard Branson, black robed as Father Richard for zany party inaugurating Virgin American flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas". San Francisco Sentinel. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  162. ^ Nizza, Mike (11 October 2007). "The Legend of Steve Fossett Takes Root". New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2007.
  163. ^ Kaila Hale-Stern (3 December 2015). "Virgin Galactic Announces New "Cosmic Girl" Mothership That Could Help It Compete With SpaceX". Gizmodo.
  164. ^ Jumbo for Virgin Galactic Airliner World February 2016 page 10
  165. ^ a b Natalie Clarkson (7 July 2022). "Virgin Galactic announces Boeing's Aurora will build new motherships". Virgin Galactic. Virgin Group.
  166. ^ "Boeing sues Virgin Galactic over mothership project". SpaceNews. 26 March 2024.
  167. ^ "SpaceShipOne rockets to success". BBC.co.uk. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  168. ^ "New Branson bio examines delays and other problems with Virgin Galactic". Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  169. ^ "'Don't let more die', Richard Branson told". London Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  170. ^ Carrington, Daisy (16 August 2013). "What does a $250,000 ticket to space with Virgin Galactic actually buy you?". CNN.com. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  171. ^ Wall, Mike (30 April 2013). "Ticket Price for Private Spaceflights on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Going Up". Space.com. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  172. ^ Forgione, Mary (2 May 2013). "Want a ticket to space? Virgin Galactic agents are standing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  173. ^ "What is Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo?". ITV. 31 October 2014. It was designed to be carried 15km into the air by the WhiteKnightTwo jet and then released by the mothership, whereupon a rocket motor ignites to fire the craft to an altitude of 110km, before it returns to Earth as a glider.
  174. ^ "Virgin Galactic Rocket Motor Milestone". Archived from the original on 26 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  175. ^ "SNC abandons own hybrid motors on Dream Chaser". 19 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  176. ^ @virgingalactic (22 February 2019). "SpaceShipTwo reached an apogee of: 55.87miles 295,007ft 89.9km" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  177. ^ a b Pasztor, Andy (13 November 2014). "Problems Plagued Virgin Galactic Rocket Ship Long Before Crash". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  178. ^ Sheetz, Michael. "Virgin Galactic unveils ‘VSS Imagine,’ the first of its next-generation spaceship series", CNBC, March 2021. (retrieved 21 July 2022)
  179. ^ Foust, Jeff (26 January 2024). "Virgin Galactic launches four private astronauts as it prepares to end Unity flights". SpaceNews. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  180. ^ "Virgin Galactic unveils VSS Imagine the first spaceship III in its growing fleet". 30 March 2021. Archived from the original on 11 July 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  181. ^ a b "Virgin Galactic FAQ: Where Will I Fly From?". Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  182. ^ "Foster + Partners". fosterandpartners.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
  183. ^ "News Release 03.04.2008 / Spaceport Sweden and Virgin Galactic". Archived from the original on 1 July 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  184. ^ "Will Whitehorn (Virgin Galactic) and Heather MacRae (Venture Thinking) at the RAeS". space.co.uk. Archived from the original on October 21, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  185. ^ "Runway Opens at world's first spaceport". BBC News. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  186. ^ EXCLUSIVE: Virgin Galactic unveils LauncherOne name!, Rob Coppinger, Flightglobal Hyperbola, December 9, 2008.
  187. ^ Amos, Jonathan (10 November 2009). "LauncherOne: Virgin Galactic's other project". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  188. ^ Rob Coppinger (11 July 2012). "Virgin Galactic Unveils LauncherOne Rocket for Private Satellite Launches". Space.com.
  189. ^ "Virgin Galactic relaunches its smallsat launch business". NewSpace Journal. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  190. ^ Amos, Jonathan (11 July 2012). "Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to launch small satellites". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  191. ^ "Virgin Galactic Opens New Design and Manufacturing Facility for LauncherOne". Space Daily. 18 February 2015.
  192. ^ Foust, Jeff (16 March 2015). "Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne on Schedule for 2016 First Launch". Space News. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  193. ^ "Virgin Galactic Signs Contract with OneWeb to Perform 39 Satellite Launches" (Press release). Long Beach, California: Virgin Galactic. 25 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 July 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  194. ^ Davenport, Christian (2 March 2017). "Richard Branson starting a new venture dedicated to launching small satellites into space". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  195. ^ "Virgin Galactic unveils Mach 3 aircraft design for high speed travel and signs memorandum of understanding with Rolls Royce". 3 August 2020. Archived from the original on 27 May 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  196. ^ "Blue Origin has a bad day (and so do some of the media)". NewSpace Journal. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  197. ^ Pasztor, Andy (24 November 2015). "Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin Succeeds in Landing Spent Rocket Back on Earth". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  198. ^ "Launch Land Repeat". Archived from the original on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  199. ^ Foust, Jeff (20 July 2021). "Blue Origin launches Bezos on first crewed New Shepard flight". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  200. ^ "Virgin Galactic stock jumps 39% in best day ever after FAA approves passenger spaceflight license". CNBC. 25 June 2021.
  201. ^ "Virgin Galactic to sell space flight tickets starting at $450,000 a seat". TheGuardian.com. 6 August 2021.
  202. ^ Bacon, Algernon D'Ammassa and John. "'It was just magical': Virgin Galactic space plane carrying Richard Branson reaches edge of space, returns safely". USA TODAY.
  203. ^ "Virgin Galactic, NASA to develop program for private missions to space station". Reuters. 23 June 2020 – via www.reuters.com.
  204. ^ Foust, Jeff (1 March 2023). "Virgin Galactic in final phases of return to flight". SpaceNews. Retrieved 4 March 2023.
  205. ^ "Virgin space plane takes off with first customers". BBC News. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
Listen to this article (13 minutes)
Spoken Wikipedia icon
This audio file was created from a revision of this article dated 9 May 2012 (2012-05-09), and does not reflect subsequent edits.