Behind the scenes of the world’s first commercial spaceline
- By Richard Branson -
- Nov 12, 2012
Thrilling day to join the most inspiring team of engineers, test pilots and designers in the centre of one of the world's most important and innovative industrial projects of our time: Virgin Galactic’s operations in Mojave, California.
Brought my daughter Holly to visit Virgin Galactic’s brilliant 175 member team and get an update on the work of building the world’s first commercial spaceline. For such a complex and difficult endeavor, their progress is impressive and their passion and commitment for starting the brand new sector of commercial space travel was utterly inspiring.
Started with Scaled Composites, the company founded by Burt Rutan that developed SpaceShipOne, which won the 2004 $10m Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. They developed Virgin Galactic’s first commercial vehicles which are now in the latter stages of the test flight program.
The Virgin Galactic engineering and design staff gave us a sneak peek of the top secret spaceship interior and seating. Wish I was allowed to talk about it and tell you what I saw: all I can say is 1) it’s all very exciting and 2) it’s going to be hard to not talk …so here is a picture.
Was impressed by how light the SpaceShipTwo components are, thanks to carbon composite manufacturing. Carbon composite was selected for our spaceships because it is 5x stronger than aluminum and many times lighter. This is taking us to space: Brilliant!
After visiting the vehicle test sites, the whole team joined us at the Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar (FAITH) for a tour and updates on operations, assembly and propulsion. Virgin Galactic’s sister organization The Spaceship Company, which will manufacture and assemble a fleet of commercial space vehicles, was renamed and brought under the Virgin Galactic brand. So proud of this wonderful team and the exciting new sector they are building.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group