Richard Branson today set out the roadmap for Virgin Galactic's immediate future by announcing that he will be taking his children along for the ride when the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) makes its inaugural flight next year (should all go to plan). As expected, Branson also confirmed plans for a commercial service to put satellites in orbit at a tenth of today's costs, marking the resumption of Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne program.
At Farnborough Airshow, Virgin Galactic announced that 529 would-be astronauts have signed up to take the US$200,000, 60-mile (96-km) high trip. WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) will carry SS2 to an altitude of 50,000 feet before releasing it to journey out of the blue, where its six passengers and two pilots will experience weightlessness. SS2 will then glide back to its spaceport in New Mexico.
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