Next year, Virgin Galactic is expected to release a state-of-the-art small satellite launcher, known as LauncherOne. The new age of space exploring is here, brought by the Virgin Galactic owner, Sir Richard Branson, with the new and revolutionary concept of small satellite launchers.
As announced by Associated Press, Branson plans to build a low-cost, satellite launch vehicle. It’s a concept experts believe to suit the current U.S. economic status and help take space engineering to a whole new level.
Yesterday, in a video posted on the Virgin Galactic Website, Branson talks about the qualities of his new concept-vehicle. The Virgin Calactic CEO says the small satellite launcher is much better and effective than “the old and inefficient method used to get satellites into orbit”.
The Virgin Galactic owner described the ship as a six person plane that will be able to engage in suborbital missions. It will come with reduced costs of production compared to those involved in present-day satellite launching techniques. So, as Sir Branson stated, it will cost roughly under $10 million and it will be able to carry a weight of approximately 500 pounds.
Branson also hopes his new satellite project will be the beginning of space tourism. “Now, LauncherOne is bringing the price of satellite launch into the realm of affordability for innovators everywhere, from start-ups and schools to established companies and national space agencies” he said. “It will be a critical new tool for the global research community, enabling us all to learn about our home planet more quickly and affordably” the Virgin Galactic owner added.
It’s only a matter of time before space tourism will actually become reality. So, Branson’s space tourism dream is bound to become real. Several companies and wealthy clients already showed interest. Among them, James Cameron and Planetary Resources, asteroid mining company. In fact, as Virgin Galactic stated this Wednesday, there are over 500 people who booked a space flight with the space tourism concept ship, SpaceShipTwo.
Reuters writes the small satellite launcher’s testing will begin in 2015 and if it works flawless, the program will be operational by 2016.