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Virgin Galactic - Research Paper Example

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Virgin Galactic Virgin Galactic, the first company to commercialize space flight for the public, was founded by innovative billionaire Richard Branson. Virgin Galactic makes part of a number of companies known as the Virgin Group which has vast experience with innovation and in the field of aviation…
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Virgin Galactic
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Virgin Galactic

Download file to see previous pages... In pursuit of their mission, Virgin Galactic has acted as a proving ground for new technologies like using carbon composites in big sized aircrafts, which has applications across a many industrial sectors. This is why Virgin Galactic has been described as a significant industrial project in the twenty first century (virgin galactic.com, 2012). Branson was 19 years old when Apollo 11 took the first humans to the moon on July 16, 1969. On that day a young Richard Branson decided that he would experience the wonder of space. “Virgin Galactic's goal is to end the exclusivity attached to manned space travel, which means designing a vehicle that can fly almost anyone to space and back safely without the need for special expertise or exhaustive, time consuming training” (Virgin Galactic. com, 2012, par. 3). Virgin Galactic reviewed many spacecraft concepts before networking with Scaled Composites. Scaled Composites was founded by famed designer and builder of experimental aircraft Burt Rutan (Leonard, 2005). Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft and launch vehicles were designed with simplicity and redundancy in mind. A complex system has an increased chance of failure; therefore simplification and risk reduction pay a pivotal role in their design. Scaled Composites has an exceptional safety record and is responsible for some of the most innovative experimental aircraft in the world. September 27, 2004, Branson announced that Virgin Galactic would finance the design and construction of a fleet of commercial spacecraft that would take thousands of passengers to space and back safely (virgingalactic.com, 2012). In addition to commercial sub-orbital space flight, Virgin Galactic offers sub-orbital scientific missions as well as orbital satellite launches. According to Virgin Galactic’s Web site, the company and the New Mexico State revealed that they had made a historic agreement in 2005 that would see the building of a state-funded $200 million spaceport on a 27-square mile area of land. Virgin Galactic agreed to establish its headquarters and operate space flights from what would be known as Spaceport America in South Mexico (virgingalactic.com, 2012). New Mexico’s steady climate, high altitude, free airspace, and low population density make it an ideal location for the first commercial spaceport. Richard Branson and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez recently dedicated the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space at Spaceport America, New Mexico. Seven hundred guests gathered to celebrate the occasion and view a demonstration flight. There has been a steady increase in the interest in space tourism among engineers, scientist, entrepreneurs, and the general public. According to Virgin Galactic’s Web site, more than 500 tickets have been sold at US$200,000 per seat. The sky is no longer the limit and the market potential for this emerging industry is enormous. As the space tourism industry grows, they will need to cut their costs to remain competitive. Branson expects as many as five competing spaceship companies by 2020. He believes this competition will drive the price of a ticket down to a level that hundreds of thousands of passengers can afford to go to space (Allen, 2009). Several companies entering the market have already announced that their costs will be approximately half that of Virgin Galactic. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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