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Rediff.com  » Business » On board Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo

On board Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo

Last updated on: July 12, 2012 08:42 IST

Image: Richard Branson waves a model of the LauncherOne cargo spacecraft from a window of an actual size model of SpaceShipTwo on display.
Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters.

Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, announced "LauncherOne", a new air-launched rocket specifically designed to deliver small satellites into orbit.

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On board Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo

Image: Entrepreneur Branson waves a model of LauncherOne cargo spacecraft from a window of an actual size model of SpaceShipTwo.
Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters.

With substantial funding already raised from Virgin Galactic's partner aabar Investments PJS, and with commercial flights of this new orbital launch vehicle expected to begin by 2016, Virgin Galactic plans to offer frequent launches at lowest prices.

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On board Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo

Image: Branson's daughter, Holly, holds up a toy astronaut on top of a model of the LauncherOne cargo spacecraft.
Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters.

Virgin Galactic Founder Richard Branson revealed that the company has now accepted deposits for suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo from 529 future astronauts.

Branson hopes to fly along with son Sam and daughter Holly in the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) aircraft by the end of 2013.

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On board Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo

Image: orkers prepare Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo ahead of the Farnborough Airshow 2012.
Photographs: Reuters.

"Virgin Galactic's goal is to revolutionise the way we get to space," Branson said. LauncherOne will be a two-stage vehicle capable of carrying up to 500 pounds (225 kilograms) to orbit for prices below $10 million.

The rocket will be launched from Virgin Galactic's proven WhiteKnightTwo, the uniquely capable aircraft also designed to carry SpaceShipTwo aloft to begin her suborbital missions.