Welcome to the Future of Space Flight

Now that NASA’s Space Shuttle program has ended, it no longer has the capability of manned space flight. Just as well, since the giant vertical thrust rockets that carried the various shuttles into orbit were a dangerous waste of money. Cheaper and safer to take off from the ground with the spacecraft attached to an aircraft, and then launch the orbital vehicle from the aircraft, as Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo demonstrates in the video below. Although this is a sub-orbital test, it’s only a matter of time before aeronautical-design genius Burt Rutan puts a craft into full orbit and, perhaps, even on the Moon. (NASA should have hired him and his brother Dick to design the shuttle program to begin with — they would have saved the taxpayer money and we’d still be in space.) The Virgin Galactic SS2 (AKA the VSS Enterprise) is jointly funded by Richard Branson, Paul Allen and Burt Rutan. They expect to be carrying passengers — at a whopping $200K a trip — into sub-orbital space by next year. Welcome to the future of space flight.

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