I don’t want to take all the credit for today but it was actually my idea. It came after Holly and I were completely blown away by a visit we made here last year and probably like quite a few of my ideas has resulted in a lot of disruption and hard work for a large number of people! So let me start by saying a big thank you to the wonderful Virgin Galactic team for pulling off yet another great event in the desert and an even bigger thank you to you our customers and your better halves for travelling in some cases thousands of miles to join us. Amazingly, we have around half our total future astronaut community with us which is both remarkable and humbling.
Your enthusiasm, your engagement, and your support have all been so important to the continuing success of this project. Virgin Galactic is the most ambitious, enthralling, and important new venture that we have launched in Virgin's 40 year history. As with most of our businesses, Galactic was launched because we wanted to make a positive difference to people’s lives. We saw space travel as an industry ripe for change. The early pioneers had achieved great things but controlled by Government programs the space industry had failed to innovate and meet demand. We believe we could do it better.
Our mission for Virgin Galactic is and has always been quite simple: to transform access to space for the benefit of life on Earth. In particular, we want to allow the millions of people from around the world who have long dreamt of experiencing space for themselves to fulfil those dreams. We have never been under any illusion as to the scale and complexity of the task or of the crucial requirement to provide the levels of safety and experience from day one that meet with the Virgin promise and with our customers' expectations.
Our plan for Virgin Galactic is to create a pioneering and successful business and to kickstart a new industry which could come to define the 21st century in the same way that commercial aviation defined the century before. Like aviation, space can bring us all huge economic and cultural benefits and we believe we are well placed to help make that happen quickly.
As the first mover and market leader in commercial manned space, we have a great responsibility to get the first steps right and then to have the resources in place to rapidly build on our early achievements. Our first SpaceShipTwo commercial flights will make history and provide decisive proof of concept. We will show that it is possible for a private company to give thousands of people like you and me the full astronaut, life enhancing, space experience --safely, using clean, reusable, air-launched vehicles.
Simultaneously, we will showcase LauncherOne, a transformational satellite orbital launch technology which will unlock access to space to an unprecedented range of new, smart technologies and users. With a potential launch capability of 100 satellites a day, we will be able to transform life back on Earth for every single person through a wide range of innovations and industries.
We'll also be able to see space based solar power and asteroid mining turn from theory to reality develop better climate and weather monitoring more efficient food production and transportation more effective disaster management and humanitarian assistance and if requested by the United Nations one day launch giant mirrors to reduce solar radiation on Earth offsetting the effects of global warming.
In the future, we expect to be able to launch as many as 100 new small satellites in a 24 hour period or replace 100 satellites within 24 hours and do so with only 24 hours’ notice. Using our experience, expertise, and resources and supported by private sector investment, research, and development, we will extend our manned program towards safe, affordable orbital flights. Our second generation payload vehicles will enable the construction of space science labs and hotels which will also provide sustainable platforms for missions beyond Earth orbit. Using small purpose built two-man space ships based at space hotels, our guests will be able to take breathtaking day trips programmed to fly a couple of hundred feet above of the moon’s surface. They will be able to take in with their own eyes awe inspiring views of mountains, craters, and vast dry seas below. Then in time we hope to launch missions to Mars and beyond.
A little closer to home, as we build out our orbital business, we will leverage our experience and resources to deliver a transcontinental capability for our vehicles leapfrogging the long awaited supersonic aviation successors to Concorde. It is no accident that we shunned the inherent limitations of ground based rockets in favour of winged spacecraft when we chose the design of our first Virgin SpaceShip.
As you would have seen so brilliantly demonstrated had the weather been kinder, Enterprise flies like a bird! The unique experience we already have in building and operating winged space vehicles will give us a huge advantage over the owners and operators of traditional vertically launched rockets in being able to rapidly push long haul commercial aviation above the fragile atmosphere. We will drastically reduce journey times and the unsustainable current environmental impact of moving people around the planet.
As a part of our extraordinary pioneering future astronaut community, your place in history is assured. I believe we are starting something that is bigger and more significant than any of us can truly understand right now. Thank you again for your support and for joining us on what promises to be a fabulous and enlightening journey of hope and fulfilment. Together we will turn our wonderful dreams into reality. All the best.