unemployment, declining wages, and rise in home foreclosures plaguing the nation. Now, critics can and most certainly will link Obamacare to every new layoff, business failure and tax increase, as well as the growing US debt. Not surprisingly, a CBS poll

Branson's Virgin Galactic Successfully Launches VSS Enterprise


March 24, 201012:25 PM MST

Billionaire founder Richard Branson’s dream is to enable people to experience the thrills

of space travel within the next few years. His company, Virgin Galactic, just took the first baby steps in achieving that goal with the successful test launch of the VSS Enterprise, named after Star Trek’s famous fictional mother ship.


The VSS Enterprise was originally designed and built by Burt Rutan whose company, Scaled Composites, now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. Rutan stated quite clearly “This is a momentous day.”


The craft soared 45,000 feet over California’s Mojave Desert for three hours. The crowd of workers and onlookers clapped and cheered when the VSS Enterprise touched down at the Mojave Air Base after its successful flight.


Richard Branson was justifiably enthusiastic about this achievement. "Seeing the finished spaceship in December was a major day for us.” Branson said. Mindful of the designer’s contribution to this breakthrough, Branson remarked that “watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time brings home what beautiful vehicles Burt and his team have developed."


Branson envisions the first generation of space tourists traveling as far as 60 miles above earth, where they will experience weightlessness and see the Earth’s curvature. This obviously will be the view of a lifetime. The Enterprise will be borne by its “carrier” vehicle, White Knight Two to a height of around 50,000 feet. At that point the Enterprise will separate and blast off to 60 miles above the Earth’s surface.


While the 2-hour trip’s $200,000 price might be considered a bit steep, it has not deterred 330 people from signing up to fly on the six-seat spacecraft. Another 80,000 people are on the waiting list.

This growing space tourism business will revitalize the public’s interest in space and space exploration. It will also spawn a host of ancillary industries, including the manufacture of rockets and rocket parts and supplies. The travel industry should also get a boost once other entrepreneurs recognize that there are substantial profits to be made from sub-orbital and orbital “leisure” flights as well as trips to the International Space Station and eventually the Moon and beyond.





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