PCM - HeadsUp - Virgin Galactic & Spaceport America
10/29/2010 2:12 PM
Virgin Galactic has established its headquarters and will operate its space flights from Spaceport America, the world's first purpose built commercial spaceport which is now under construction in New Mexico. Spaceport America will provide cutting edge facilities and a wonderful location for fledgling astronauts to realize their dreams.
SpaceShipTwo uses all the same basic technology, carbon composite construction and design as SpaceShipOne. However it is around twice as large as that vehicle and will carry six passengers and two pilots. It is 60ft long with a 90" diameter cabin which is similar in size to a Falcon 900 executive jet albeit with no floor dissecting the cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity. The spaceship can be thought of as an air launched glider with a rocket motor and a couple of extra systems for spaceflight. Just like any conventional flying machine, it requires aerodynamic forces to provide its stability and control which, clearly, it only has whilst in the atmosphere. In space it follows a purely ballistic trajectory, but here it can use small thrusters known as the reaction control system (RCS) which allow the pilots to maneuver the vehicle in space and provide a changing view for the passenger astronauts. Learn more at www.virgingalactic.com