Blunderbirds are go: Virgin Galactic gets take-off green light

Blunderbirds are go: Virgin Galactic gets take-off green light

Aspiring space line Virgin Galactic has announced that its VSS Enterprise has boldly gone where no other bearded millionaire's space project has gone before.

Today, Virgin said that the Enterprise has completed its inaugural flight from the Mojave Air and Spaceport, while attached to the back of its mothership. Ahh.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, said, "Watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt and his team have developed for us. It comes as no surprise that the flight went so well; the Scaled team is uniquely qualified to bring this important and incredible dream to reality. Today was another major step along that road and a testament to US engineering and innovation."

Over the next couple of years the Enterprise will take bigger flights, and Virgin said that it would progress from being carried about by another ship to flying under its own power. Thankfully this latter stage will be tackled before Virgin launches its commercial operations.

Elsewhere the UKs business secretary Lord Mandelson has got closer to earning his Darth nickname for real with the announcement that the government will fund a new UK space initiative.

Rather than try to send some of the UKs unemployed to the moon, however, the UK space agency will use space data for things like predicting the weather and understanding climate change.

Lord Mandelson, said, "The £6 billion space industry is one of Britain's real success stories. Year on year it provides more jobs both directly and indirectly to the UK workforce. This is exactly the kind of high value-added industry we need to support as we rebalance our economy, creating sustainable growth and the jobs of the future."

The new International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) will be funded to the tune of £40m, which is just £10m more than the government has pledged for studying the semantec web.

If the accountants in the House of Commons didn't have enough to worry about already, they would assume that the world has gone mad.

See more about:  space  |  tourism  |  branson  |  galatic  |  enterprise  |  virgin  |  uk  |  thunderbirds

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