Watch WhiteKnightTwo Take Flight (Video)

Article written: 30 Jul , 2009
Updated: 24 Mar , 2012
by


Attendees at the AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin were treated with watching Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo take flight. On board the mothership — which will launch space tourism and science customers into space — was none other than Vigin’s founder Richard Branson. “This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” Branson said after the flight. “It’s a beautiful aircraft to fly and its incredibly light carbon construction and efficient design points the way to a much brighter future for commercial aviation as well as the industrial revolution in space which I believe our entire space launch system heralds.”

Branson and Virgin Galactic also signed an agreement yesterday at the air show for an Abu Dhabi-based investment group to buy almost a third of the space tourism company. Aabar Investments received 32 percent of the company for $280 million. Virgin would like to see the WhiteKnightTwo used to launch small payloads into orbit, similar to how Orbital Sciences’ Pegasus launcher operates. The money from Aabar will go toward developing Virgin Galactic’s orbital capability, and it’s hoped the first satellite launches can take place in three years.

Sources: Technology Review, Richard Branson’s Blog



4 Responses

  1. mrbill says

    Branson would appear to be the Lindbergh of the age.

  2. Kaizad says

    We need more entrepreneurs like Branson and Musk. These guys are truly trailblazing their ways into a new, more meaningful space age.

  3. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    We need more entrepreneurs like Branson and Musk.

    I don’t contest that of course. And I, while not being conversant with all their efforts, note that they seem to concentrate on their strengths, as true geniuses do.

    But I’m not sure that Branson was the only person who was willing and able to take the WK/SS concept to the adventure market and beyond. The key person behind the WK/SS concept and its placement on the investment market was Scaled Composites’ Burt Rutan. And perhaps also XPrize’s Allen.

    [I have a lot more awe, if not respect, for the designing engineers in Rutan and Musk (and even Allen, while it doesn’t come into this and in the end got us the dreaded Microsoft ware). I’m sure Branson was and possibly still is indispensable for his companies. Rutan has always been, and AFAIU Musk found himself to be the indispensable main engineer on the budget and time he had.]

  4. Kaizad says

    Oh ofcourse, I didn’t intend to leave them out. It’s just that I’ve realized lately the importance of management in any fledgling industry such as space tourism. The technical know-how is (to state the obvious) core to significant development. But if there’s no one to market your ideas/products, you’re not going anywhere.

    I just recently learned that the PARC labs at Xerox company came up with the mouse, the GUI (graphical user interface), ethernet, the laser printer etc. But they failed to capitalize on the GUI concept (among others) due to mismanagement. Steve Jobs (the charismatic opportunist that he is) acquired this for his line of Apple products and thus made history in the 70s/80s.

    My point is that both skills are complementary. But yea, we definitely need more Rutans and the like.

Leave a Reply