Excitement builds as Virgin Galactic given green light for powered flights

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It may still be some way off but MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ Managing Director, Roy Merricks and his team are hopeful they will soon be gearing up to start sending the first Virgin Galactic ‘future astronauts’ into space.

Mr Merricks said the Virgin Galactic spaceline flights were now one step closer following news that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US has granted experimental launch permits for the company’s Spaceship Two and WhiteKnight Two spacecraft.

MTA is infact one of only eight agencies in Australia to be handpicked by Virgin Group supremo Sir Richard Branson to sell his space tourism project.

 “According to the advice we have received this represents an important milestone in Virgin Galactic coming one step closer to bringing customers into space,” Mr Merricks said.

SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo have already made significant progress in their flight test program.

With 80 test flights completed, WhiteKnightTwo is substantially through its test plan while the more recently constructed SpaceShipTwo has safely completed sixteen free flights including three thattested the vehicle’s unique “feathering” re-entry system.

Additionally, its vehicle developer, Scaled Composites (Scaled)), has successfully completed ten test firings of the full scale SpaceShipTwo rocket motor, including full duration burns.

According to The President of Scaled Composites (Scaled), the US company which is developing the craft, the  Spaceship program is making steady progress.

Scaled president, Doug Shane, said the company was now looking forward lighting the vehicle’s rocket engine in flight for the first time.

Although a handful of experimental launch permits have been granted to other rockets, SpaceShipTwo is the first rocket-powered vehicle that carries humans on board to receive such a permit.

SpaceShipOne, the manned spaceship successfully flown to space in 2004 and the basis for the design of SpaceShipTwo, flew before the Experimental Permit regulatory regime was established.

Virgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline.

W:       www.mtatravel.com.au

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