NASA has selected its first human-tended commercial suborbital research payload, clearing the way for the biggest advocate of such research to fly on a future Virgin Galactic mission.
The merger of in-space transportation company Momentus with a special-purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) could encourage other space startups seeking large amounts of capital to follow its lead.
Virgin Galactic has pushed the beginning of commercial flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle to no earlier than the first quarter of 2021 while announcing plans to sell additional stock to raise money.
Virgin Galactic showed off the interior of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane July 28 as the company prepares to wrap up the campaign of test flights of the vehicle and begin commercial operations.
Orbite Corp., a Seattle startup founded by American entrepreneur Jason Andrews and French entrepreneur Nicolas Gaume, announced plans July 14 to establish a Spaceflight Gateway and Astronaut Training Complex offering luxury accommodations, dining and recreation for commercial astronauts, their friends and families.
Virgin Galactic conducted its second test flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle from its New Mexico spaceport June 25 and now says it is ready to resume powered flights of the spacecraft.
NASA is taking the first steps in a process that could lead to astronauts and other agency personnel flying on commercial suborbital vehicles by establishing a program office and seeking input from industry.
A White House official said June 22 that while the administration supports commercial space transportation, companies with ambitions of high-speed point-to-point suborbital spaceflight should focus on near-term goals instead.
Virgin Galactic announced June 22 it has signed an agreement with NASA to support development of a program to train and potentially procure rides for private individuals seeking to fly to the International Space Station.
Richard Branson, the founder and largest shareholder of suborbital spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, will sell more than a fifth of Virgin Group’s majority stake in the company to raise funds to aid its other companies affected by the pandemic.
Virgin Galactic executives said May 5 that the suborbital spaceflight company has taken measures to resume regular operations during the coronavirus pandemic, but said they didn’t yet know its overall impact on the business.
Virgin Galactic conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from its New Mexico spaceport May 1 as the company edges closer to finally beginning commercial flights of the suborbital spaceplane.
With SpaceShipTwo and Blue Origin’s New Shepard set to begin commercial service as soon as late this year, the focus has been on those vehicles carrying space tourists. But some believe that those vehicles are also ideal for research missions.
Virgin Galactic executives suggested Feb. 25 that the beginning of commercial flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle might slip again, even as the company starts planning to resume ticket sales.