Branson opens US 'spaceport'

2011-10-18 10:02
Los Angeles - British billionaire Richard Branson on Monday opened the world's first-ever commercial spaceport in the New Mexico desert, the new home for his company, Virgin Galactic.

The businessman, with usual flair, sported a black jacket and waves of hair flying as he inaugurated the building by breaking a champagne bottle against a hanger building, while rappelling down the side of it.

"Spaceport America", as the site is called, will serve "as the operating hub for Virgin Galactic and is expected to house up to two WhiteKnightTwos and five SpaceShipTwos, in addition to all of Virgin’s astronaut preparation facilities and mission control", said the company in a statement to the press.

About 150 people already booked for travel on the first flights to orbit attended the event, said the company.

Also attending were head of Virgin Galactic George Whitesides, commercial director Stephen Attenborough, and famed US astronaut - and second human being to step on the moon - Buzz Aldrin.

Tickets

Branson in September said he hoped to launch a vessel into space within the next 12 months, which he said would kick off an era of commercial space travel.

"The mother ship is finished... The rocket tests are going extremely well, and so I think that we're now on track for a launch within 12 months of today," he told CNN's Piers Morgan.

"About an hour between Los Angeles and London is not completely out of the question," Branson said, adding that it will likely take many years before the company can offer such a service.

In the meantime, Virgin has sold some 430 tickets for space travel - at $200 000 a pop - for an estimated $86m.

A number of private companies are rushing to fill the gap left by Nasa, which ended its 30-year shuttle programme in July with the completion of the final Atlantis mission to the International Space Station.

Read more on:    virgin atlantic  |  richard branson  |  space
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are active, busy and on a mission today. There may be a special person you wish to entertain and may put in the extra effort...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.