Capitalism in space: Virgin Galactic’s first attempt to launch its SpaceShipTwo Unity suborbital spacecraft from its New Mexico spaceport ended almost immediately after the ship was released from WhiteKnightTwo when its engines did not ignite.
All appeared normal during the flight’s early phases. VSS Unity was carried into the air by its twin-fuselage mothership, known as WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve, and was released to fly free at an altitude of more than 40,000 feet.
A webcast provided via NASASpaceflight.com showed the flash of the plane’s hybrid rocket motor lighting up, but only for a second. After the flame-out, Test pilots Dave Mackay and C.J. Sturckow brought Unity back down to the spaceport for a gliding landing.
I wish Virgin Galactic well, but at this point consider the company a backwater in the drive to develop a commercial space tourism industry. It took them too long to get to this point. Even if they should start flying tourists next year, they will be competing with orbital tourist flights by SpaceX, and the contrast is stark. I simply no longer see a viable customer base for Virgin Galactic, unless they get a lot of government subsidies.
On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon
, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit
. If you buy it from ebookit
you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.
The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News