Virgin Galatic, Getting Closer

Spaceport America has been completed in New Mexico. The runway was completed about a year ago. WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, the company’s two rocket space ships, are both in Spaceport America’s hanger now. WhiteKnightTwo will be the ship that takes tourists into suborbit. Virgin Galactic is currently finalizing rocket tests.

“Commercial service will start up after the company gets a license from the Federal Aviation Administration. NASA has already signed a $4.5 million contract with the company for up to three chartered research flights,” the AP reports.

Tickets for rides aboard WhiteKnightTwo cost $200,000. The claim is the 2 1/2-hour flights will include about five minutes of weightlessness as well as impressive views of Earth.

And just as cool: “Virgin Galactic and officials with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority are touting the design as green. It uses geothermal energy; tubes running through the earthen berm surrounding part of the building help cool the interior; and natural ventilation can be used during mild seasons.”

Richard Branson and NM officials dedicate space terminal:

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