Virgin Galactic, which is promising to be the first commercial carrier of travelers into space, will be in Little Rock Sunday for a program at 3 p.m. at the Aerospace Education Center planetarium. "Space Agent" Tony Poe of Poe Travel is arranging the event. More on the jump.
NOTE: A deposit to make one of the flights is $20,000. The flight will cost $200,000. Save your pennies.
2008 – a space odyssey
world’s first commercial space line to host special preview
at little rock’s aerospaceeducationcenter episphere planetarium
LITTLE ROCK (May 16, 2008) – Virgin Galactic is coming to town and they are inviting the public to come see what’s in store for aspiring space tourists, aerospace enthusiasts and anyone else who’s just plain curious. The fledgling space line recently unveiled their new design to the world and is sending a representative to Little Rock’s AerospaceEducationCenter to spread the word.
The event, scheduled for Saturday May 17 at 3:00pm, is open to the public with seating limited only by the planetarium’s capacity. A second presentation may follow if there is overflow attendance.
Virgin Galactic’s new space launch system is based on the X Prize winning technology of SpaceShipOne, which successfully flew into space for the third time in October 2004 and won the $10m Ansari X Prize. The bigger commercial vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, is nearing completion in the Mojave Desert headquarters of Scaled Composites. It incorporates both the lessons learned from the SpaceShipOne program and the market research conducted by Virgin Galactic into the requirements future astronauts have for their space flight experience.
Arkansas’ only Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Agent, Tony Poe of Poe Travel, is licensed to sell seats on the space line. “One of my priorities on this project is to raise public awareness about the very “realness” of this system. The prototype flew flawlessly and the commercial vehicles are under construction right now.” Poe enlisted Virgin Galactic’s Head of Astronaut Sales, Carolyn Wincer, to come help him out by making a presentation at the AerospaceEducationCenter.
While the two vehicles comprising the space launch system have been under construction, Virgin Galactic’s cadre of future astronauts has continued to grow strongly to well in excess of 200 individuals with around 85,000 registrations of interest to fly. The deposit base now exceeds $30m representing more than $45m of future income to the space line. “My first booking was a client in Italy – talk about a small world!”, said Poe.
Astronaut orientation for spaceflight is progressing well and already 80 of SpaceShipTwo’s first passengers have been through medical assessment and centrifuge training at the NASTAR facility in Philadelphia. During their G Force acclimatization program, the participants were spun to 3.5GZ (head tot toe) and 6GX (front to back) to simulate the actual flight profile of SpaceShipTwo during a 68 mile apogee sub-orbital space flight. Tony Poe also experienced the NASTAR centrifuge flight simulation earlier this year as a part of his ongoing Space Agent training.
Commenting on the new vehicles, Burt Rutan, CEO of Scaled Composites, said: “Virgin Galactic produced a demanding output specification for the worlds first private human and payload space launch system. This required us to produce a safe but flexible design capable of multiple applications in new market sectors. I am confident that these vehicles, now in an advanced stage of construction, will achieve just that. “Looking up – way up!” is an expression we have shared since the X Prize began and now we are all excited that this year the dream will start to become a very tangible reality for everyone involved.”
Tony Poe added, “A lot of people I talk to express skepticism or outright disbelief when I tell them what I’m up to. The fact is we’re moving very fast toward the first commercial flights. We want to share our excitement about these amazing steps toward affordable space tourism!”