With Open-Architecture Mothership, Virgin Aims To Fuel New Space Race
The Virgin Group have presented the ‘mother' space-craft that will work as both the sky-crane for Virgin Galactic tourist passengers but also for other enterprises. Virgin plan to build 12 WhiteKnightTwo ships that will carry smaller SpaceShipTwo craft to a height where both craft detaches and after a moment of free fall, the latter will engage its rockets to ride into space – offering its passengers about 20 minutes of time in space and 6 minutes of weightlessness.
Richard Branson and his team want to offer safe, energy efficient and cheap access to space for everyone. Over 290 ‘founder' customers have signed up for the flight – many of whom have gone beyond the $20,000 deposit and paid the whole ticket. In fact, much of the project's funding is coming from pre-sales. At its peak, 2 sets of tourists will be sent to space each day.