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Virgin Christens First Commercial Passenger Spacecraft – VSS Enterprise December 8, 2009

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Science/Technology,Trek Franchise , trackback

If you are hoping to catch a ride on the first private commercial passenger spacecraft, you will be riding on a spacecraft named ‘Enterprise’, more specifically Virgin Galactics VSS Enterprise, which was unveiled Monday night. More details below.

 

Go to space on board the Enterprise
After Burt Rutan’s Spaceship One won the X-Prize for being the first privately built re-usable spacecraft, Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson partnered with Rutan to form Virgin Galactic. Together they began work on Spacship Two, their first spacecraft to send tourists into suborbital spaceflights. That craft was unveiled tonight in a ceremony at the Mojave Air and Space Port. And the craft was christened as the VSS Enterprise, an homage to Star Trek and the other great ships to share the name.


Virgin’s Richard Branson at the christening of the VSS Enterprise (LA Times)

Branson hopes that the first flights with paying passengers will be in 2011, after more tests. The suborbital flights will only give you a few minutes in the weightlessness of space, and cost $200,000, which includes a complete training program. Virgin Galactic say they already have more than 300 early adopters signed up.

Of course this isn’t the first ‘first Enterprise’ spacecraft. In 1976, after lobbying from the fans, NASA named the first space shuttle as ‘Enterprise’. However, that craft never actually made into space, so Virgin Galactic’s Enterprise will be the first Enterprise to venture into the final frontier.  


Roddenberry and the Original Series cast with the Space Shuttle Enterprise

 

Here is video of the unveiling (thanks to Jakedweh)

Here is an AP report on the VSS Enterprise

And here is a video from Virgin Galactic which has more on their plan to take you to space.

For more on the launch go to Wired and the LA Times.

 

Comments

1. Sebi - December 8, 2009

Wow. That’s so cool.

ENGAGE!

2. KevinA Melbourne Australia - December 8, 2009

I wish I had $200grand!

3. DJT - December 8, 2009

Thrusters on Full !

4. Nuallain - December 8, 2009

Fantastic!

I wonder how much extra demand they’ll get for seats purely from the name alone!

5. Digginjim - December 8, 2009

First ‘Enterprise’ in space…. can’t wait

6. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - December 8, 2009

I’m saving the $200,000 I don’t have for an actual orbital flight…. Seriously, if I had money to burn I’d get a seat on a Soyuz. But the truth is, I can’t wait until the VSS Enterprise starts taking people. It’ll be a vicarious thrill for me, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction. One of these days, we’ll get full commercial spaceflight, and that will be a benefit to humankind.

7. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

Should have called it the Botany Bay, rich super humans har har har

I will wait until they perfect this and when it is affordable for the every day person.

8. cinemadeus - December 8, 2009

Since NASA was founded in 1958 it hardly could’ve sent only 400 people into space for 60 or 70 years…
Will someone please introduce Mr. Branson to the history of space flight…
;-)

9. The Wild Man of Borneo - December 8, 2009

Good stuff! The future begins!

10. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

They should have played Enterprising Young Men whiile they unveiled the ship, and have someone in the audience say, hey you gotta look at this look, it is unveiled and the score pumps up.

11. Pleasure Girl 1990 - December 8, 2009

Rather than spending millions of Pounds on Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson should sort out his piss-poor excuse of a cable company, Virgin Media. Surely the most God-awful broadband provider in the UK….

12. Ambassador - December 8, 2009

I cannot believe the mixed reaction here — do we live in a world where someone unveiling a SPACE PLANE is mundane?? This is the stuff of science fiction and is long overdue. I look forward to seeing the spaceline progress as it triumphs over challenges and executes many successful flights to come.

13. Phoenix - December 8, 2009

All of those days spent moaning and whining “WHY WASN’T I BORN IN THE 60′S TO SEE STAR TREK?!”…..Now i understand, i have a goal to reach and hopefully well……go to the Final Frontier itself.

14. charliebob - December 8, 2009

William Shatner actually refused a seat on the first flight until he has assurances he’d get down again.
Stephen Hawking however, has been doing everything he can to show he’d be able to take the stresses!

15. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

I guess I will be excited to see the day we can reach another planet/colony or play poker on the moon/mars, this is like holding the girls hands, I rather go all the way ;)

16. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

BTW where is the Shat in that NASA pic

17. Hat Rick - December 8, 2009

The two Enterprises look remarkably similar in the first two photos. Weird.

Weird — but WONDERFUL!

18. crazydaystrom - December 8, 2009

@16-

Shatner wasn’t there. This was during the (preTMP) period when he didn’t seem to want to be associated with Trek.

But oh!, the VSS Enterprise! If I could, I would!

19. dafydd - December 8, 2009

Nimoy and Nichols look just like Quinto and Saldana in that pic!!!

20. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

#19

OMG I was thinking the same thing, it’s so uncanny, funny how the space ships haven’t changed much, wish NASA would team up with Virgin to make a real titanic type ship in space minus the sinking.

21. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

Do you have to take out your appendix before going on-board?

22. Paul B. - December 8, 2009

8 – cinemadeus – December 8, 2009
Since NASA was founded in 1958 it hardly could’ve sent only 400 people into space for 60 or 70 years…
Will someone please introduce Mr. Branson to the history of space flight…
********************
Um…unless you meant something different from what you typed, YOU are the one who needs the history lesson, cinemadeus.

As of November 2009, only 510 humans have flown in space. (Even Wikipedia knows this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_space_travelers_by_name)

Also, the first American went into space in 1961, which means NASA has only been putting people in space for 48 years–hardly the “60 or 70 years” of your comment.

Instead of posting “corrections” of other people, you should check YOUR knowledge first. Maybe a good introduction to the history of spaceflight…

As for the VSS Enterprise:
I’m thrilled that we’re finally on the verge of a real commercial space industry! Branson isn’t quite as cool as D.D. Harriman, but he’s definitely living up to Heinlein’s hopes.

Maybe I’ll actually get a chance to fly in space–even just the edge–within my lifetime. Hard to believe…and so completely amazing!

23. kmart - December 8, 2009

18 –
Shatner was WORKING at the time. Check his creds and you’ll see he took every offer under the sun post-divorce, up through TMP. That’s why so many of us saw him in awful vocational movies in high school during the 70s (hello my name is william shatner – in this film I play american farmer … )

I’m wondering when Paramount will try to tell Virgin that Enterprise is a trademark and he can’t use it.

24. Hat Rick - December 8, 2009

Someone quick — name a starship after Richard Branson! :-)

25. Navy - December 8, 2009

I don’t really like virgin… most of the things that company does is resell stuff… like cellular air time on someone else’s network.

26. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

Yes pretty amazing, sorta like when humans built their first commercial boating vessel, as with anything, the rich and powerful will experience it first.

27. Crusade2267 - December 8, 2009

26

Or the first Subway in New York. A pnumatic tube that traveled 100 feet as a joy ride for the richest New Yorkers.

28. falcon - December 8, 2009

@23 – Enterprise is not a trademark. Neither is U. S. S. Enterprise. Regardless of whether Paramount puts a “TM” after the name or not. The CVN-65 U. S. S. Enterprise is, of course, a U. S. Naval vessel, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise is NASA’s test vehicle in storage at the Smithsonian. So it’s doubtful that Paramount could claim trademark status against the name itself.

If you use the name Enterprise in conjunction with the title Star Trek, or in grahpics on the model itself, then perhaps Paramount would have a claim. But they won’t sue Branson because he called his sub-orbital spaceplane the VSS Enterprise, unless they want some really bad publicity.

29. falcon - December 8, 2009

Oh, yeah, and Branson should have used the Little Nell artwork from the Starfleet Museum. Much cuter than what he’s got on there now.

30. Mr Mann - December 8, 2009

Ok they called it “Enterprise” – I have the sad feeling that the name of this ship has a different definition/connotation than the one intended by Rodenberry.

Enterprise as more of a business undertaking, rather than one of scope complication and risk.

For Branson he really is hoping this turns into an Enterprise.

31. Daoud - December 8, 2009

#30 Why so sad? Roddenberry’s TMP included in the Rec Room, a wall of pictures of ships previous to the refit 1701 that were named Enterprise. In this Roddenberry-produced production included a “spaceliner Enterprise” that was a commercial passenger vessel.

And obviously Roddenberry made a few bucks off the name Enterprise.

w28 And even if they did sue him, he could always state in court as a British citizen, the HMS Enterprise/Enterprize predates any USS ship. :)

32. Lauren - December 8, 2009

This is awesome could they establish like a space hotel up in space that would be so darn cool.

33. Aldo F. Rodriguez - December 8, 2009

The Human Adventure continues…

34. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

This will lead to the first Casino on the Moon/Mars, instead of going to Las Vegas or your typical tropical boat cruise, in the near future we can say, I’m going to book a flight on the Enterprise and check out the action on the moon/mars. Who will get the title to be the first human to be born in space/moon/mars?

35. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

There will be a new term, instead of the, “mile high club” we will have, “outer space club” ;) bow chicka WOW WOW

36. Schultz - December 8, 2009

Finally… space!! :)

37. Chris M - December 8, 2009

OMG how awesome would it be to go into space in the Enterprise!!!!! :)

38. bmar - December 8, 2009

28 – Falcon: Re Space Shuttle Enterprise…

Actually it’s not in storage any more, it’s on display at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Udvar Hazy complex near Dulles Airport. Quite amazing to see, although, strangely enough, when I stood right next to it, my first reaction was…it looks fake, like a prop.

Not sure if anyone else has had that reaction. I guess it was really cleaned up in the restoration process, and many parts of “real” space shuttles were never put on Enterprise since it was only a test vehicle.

Still, there it is. Go see it!

39. Dan - December 8, 2009

I actually almost gave up on this ever happening in my lifetime. I am so happy I get to see it. I was born when they landed on the moon, now I get to see civilians flying to space on board privately owned spacecraft. Another small step towards our great leap! So awesome.

40. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

When we finally achieve the ability to build a inter solar system craft, the humans would look back at this and lol like how we look at the first computer or game console. Beep Boop Beep Beep

41. kingfrc - December 8, 2009

this is great saw the doc about spaceship one and it was very interesting hope this works out for them

42. Chris Dawson - December 8, 2009

Bon Voyage and good luck VSS Enterprise – glad you have arrived!

43. oh really? - December 8, 2009

Sorry if I turn out to be the only negative nancy here, but isn’t anyone skeptical about this?

I won’t be surprised to see this fail miserably and kill a lot of greedy billionaires who bought their personal front row seat in space. I can see this going completely south since there is still so much we don’t understand about space travel and the galaxy we inhabit. It just sounds exactly like the first act of a sci fi/horror movie where a rich tycoon wants to make a quick buck off the unknown… and fails to anticipate the many things that could go wrong up there… especially for a bunch of civilians (rich civilians) who are not trained in flying a space craft. I would imagine there are many more risks than flying in an airplane. I can see this announcement as a pre-cursor to a great tragedy in 2011 when the first civilian astronauts encounter an unforeseen accident which leads to their unfortunate deaths.

44. Steve - December 8, 2009

The last video…. lens flares!!! haha!!
Played that last one with enterprising young men on another tab at the same time- same, awe inspiring effect on me!
Nice work Beardy! Engage! (Imagine picard saying that to riker!)

45. kingfrc - December 8, 2009

@43

the world would not miss a these people too much and why should the rich not be the guinie pigs for this ( sorrie bout the spelling )

46. dalek - December 8, 2009

He can’t do that. There was no model of the VSS Enterprise on Picard’s shelves in the observation lounge, therefore it isn’t canon……. !

47. Steve - December 8, 2009

Last video? WTF?

My bad- the FIRST VIDEO!!!!

Stupid me.

48. BenPrince - December 8, 2009

Absolutely amazing.

49. Sebastian - December 8, 2009

To quote Simon Pegg’s Scotty, “I like this ship… it’s exciting!”

If private efforts like Branson’s finally get interest in spaceflight out of mothballs and back into the mainstream (as it was during the mid-’60s), I say more power to him!

To the folks at Virgin Galactic, “May the wind be at your backs!”

50. OneBuckFilms - December 8, 2009

Private space flight should help with innovation, and this seems to have proven true.

Virgin Galactic: may the wind be on your backs !!!

51. OV-106 - December 8, 2009

@ 43

I work on the space shuttle program, I can assure you people are well aware of what can happen. However, lets clarify a couple of things. First this is a sub-orbital vehicle. It reaches the edge of space but does not have the kinetic energy to achieve orbit. It also does not have many of the systems that would allow it to return from orbit, such as an enhanced TPS system. It will certainly not be going “galactic” so infectous diseases from other planets, hostile aliens, deep space radiation or other spacial annomalies have little chance of occurence.

Now to the bigger picture. This is a good thing. The first private space craft that will take everyday people to space, even if it is just the edge of it. This is where it starts and hope that it does go well and business is good because that is the economic engine of what drives companies to want to invest more, which means new and better designs with more capabilities that will eventually go all the way to orbit.

I can promise you this is just the beginning and there are very many cool things companies are working on right now in this regards.

Oh yeah, and it was named after that Enterprise too, there is nothing else behind it.

52. Klingon to this !!! - December 8, 2009

40. somethoughts – December 8, 2009

When we finally achieve the ability to build a inter solar system craft, the humans would look back at this and lol like how we look at the first computer or game console. Beep Boop Beep Beep

—————————————————————————–

Interstellar space travel is predicted to be almost 400 hundred years away, sadly…

53. BenAvery - December 8, 2009

I just can’t help thinking that $200k would be better spent elsewhere. Rather than a few minutes in space, maybe, you know, helping people right here on earth. Seems pretty selfish.

Of course, as soon as I start thinking in that direction . . . that means looking at the trillions spent in thousands of other, more selfish places that could be put to use in the same way . . .

And the thousands I myself have spent on trivial pursuits that could have gone to more productive destinations . . .

Still, money spent on scientific discovery and space exploration actually does seem to benefit mankind. This, however, seems like an exercise in elitism. As much as I love science fiction and the idea of the common man reaching up into space . . . that’s only one small part of Roddenberry’s vision. The wiping out of poverty, disease, etc. . . . those things are also part of his vision.

54. M-BETA - December 8, 2009

@10 –

How about this version of Enterprising Young Men?

http://twiturm.com/jacew

55. S. John Ross - December 8, 2009

#15: Well, the company _is_ called “Virgin,” after all :)

56. OV-106 - December 8, 2009

@53

And this is what society has come to. It seems that everyone always says “what about me, where’s my piece of the pie”. Look at our current economic situation, where everyone wants more and more entitlements because they believe they are owed it. For what?

This is all private money that has been spent because it seems there is a business case for it. The people who will fly on it are spending their own money. These are the type of people you need for your “common man” scenerio.

If you want to help, don’t order a pizza next time, don’t buy something that you wanted and instead give it away to someone else if you feel some sort of guilt. However, you should also not punish others and call them “elite” simply because they do not redistribute their own wealth that they have worked for in some way or another. Society gets no where that way and instead fosters more and more of a “give me” attitude where few do the work and all the rest expect a handout. Show me how poverty can be wiped, disease can be wiped out for the amount of money spent on this endeavor and I will buy you a ticket. Finally, if we never do anything until these conditions you describe above, all advancement will stall and you know that.

57. mr Lirpa - December 8, 2009

#53 Blu-Ray last year $500+ in a few years time as demand goes up they’ll be $20, it has to start somewhere, as of 2011 there will be one commercial space ship, by 2050 I sure there will be dozens if not more space craft. hopefully the costs will have shot down by then too.

58. John from Cincinnati - December 8, 2009

from telegraph.uk.co:

“The Enterprise was officially named by Mr Schwarzenegger, who said: “This is the stuff of science fiction movies and now it has become a reality. It’s really amazing. ”

Wow! The governator himself named it Enterprise!

59. G - December 8, 2009

“Take us out”

60. John from Cincinnati - December 8, 2009

Edith Keeler was right, these are the days worth living for.

61. G - December 8, 2009

Have they actually taken this ship into space yet during testing?? It looks to be different design than the earlier prototypes they flew into space. Or, does this unveiling mark the beginning of the testing?

62. OV-106 - December 8, 2009

@ 61

No, it has not flown yet. This is the beginning of the test phase before reaching its certification point where it will carry passengers. SpaceShip1 that flew several flights a few years ago and won the X-Prize was the prototype.

63. S. John Ross - December 8, 2009

#56: “And this is what society has come to. It seems that everyone always says “what about me, where’s my piece of the pie”.”

Except, post #53 said no such thing. Quite the opposite, he was talking about selfishness, including his own.

“[...] their own wealth that they have worked for in some way or another.”

This just made me giggle.

64. OV-106 - December 8, 2009

@63

I didn’t say #53 said exactly that but interpreted it as this being a bad thing to some extent because it costs right now what only those being described as more wealthy could afford.

On another note, why did it make you giggle?

65. S. John Ross - December 8, 2009

#64: “On another note, why did it make you giggle?”

I’m easily amused. For example, I saw ST09 twice.

66. John from Cincinnati - December 8, 2009

I saw ST09 in an alternate universe, and in that universe the characters were wearing their proper TOS uniforms and the Enterprise actually looked like the Enterprise, inside and out.

67. OneBuckFilms - December 8, 2009

66 – And the film flopped :P

68. OneBuckFilms - December 8, 2009

53 – The innovation needed to get this off the ground needs to be paid for via some means.

It is not your wealth to redistribute.

69. John from Cincinnati - December 8, 2009

67.

In one universe it made $300 million and in another it made $1 billion.

70. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

One day, in the not so distant future, Branson’s gonna fly the Enterprise by the ISS and flip them the bird out the window.

71. Jeff - December 8, 2009

I wonder if the price will eventually become more reasonable. In 20 years or so.

72. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

#54

Rock on! Awesome.

73. Do You Wanna Dance - December 8, 2009

$200k? That’s cheap. It costs €1B to get on the Ark.

74. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

Maybe NASA should hire Branson to build them a new spaceship. Something more futuristic instead of the Apollo rehash that’s planned.

75. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

#43

Does seem like the opening of a great sci fi story or twlight zone etc.

The crew returns and find themselves surrounded by dinosaurs.

The crew returns and the planet is controlled by (insert cool idea here)

The ship vanishes and only turns up after 200 years, everyone else on earth has aged and the folks on the ship haven’t aged one year.

The crew discovers that the solar system is the limit of space and everything else we observed was simply a optical illusion of the past.

The earth blows up as they reach orbit and they are forced to consume each other in a murderous ghost ship and the only 2 survivor must find another planet to colonize.

76. Jim - December 8, 2009

Welcome to the future!

77. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

#75 interesting ideas.

maybe the ship returns in the 200 year scenario you imagined to an earth where NASA still doesnt have a decent spaceship.

78. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

The sad thing is there has to be accidents to perfect this kind of technology.
Titanic, Apollo etc. $200K to be guinea pig, c’mon folks step right up ;)

Has anyone had sex in space yet? I know NASA doesn’t forbid it. Has there been any confirmation of copulation in space/orbit?

79. Jim - December 8, 2009

Of course you know now the timeline has been altered and both possible realities of the original Star Trek timeline and the new Star Trek 2009 timeline has been altered…I wonder when the vulcans will ever make first contact or if the Borg will take over earth now…thanks a lot.

80. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

#77

LOL so true, NASA is funneling all the money to our rulers the Dracos/Grays.

81. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

The VSS Enterprise would make an excellent vehicle for an Austin Powers version of Moonraker.

82. OV-106 - December 8, 2009

#77,

Please explain. What is considered a “decent” spaceship?

83. tman - December 8, 2009

The dream Star Trek showcases is space travel to make the world a better place. Taking rich old Ferrari collectors and their young mistresses into space must be progress in this direction but I just can’t see it.

84. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

#82

-one that is “cheap” and conveniently turned around between missions like the shuttle was supposed to be.
-although I do like the shuttle and wish it could be improved upon, it seems like the private spaceflight industry is going to take the lead.
-as a child watching the maiden flight of the shuttle I sure thought we’d be further along by now. At least I thought the next ship would be so much cooler.
I’d consider Virgin’s ship a decent one. What about you?

85. Sci-Fi Guy - December 8, 2009

Why wasn’t The Shat at the N’Sa shuttle Enterprise unveiling — what? — he had something better to do?

86. somethoughts - December 8, 2009

#82.

A spaceship that is capable of near light speed that does not weigh millions of tonnes and shoot out fuel as a means of forward motion. A ship built around magnetism/wave/particle propulsion (forgot you are banned from using that energy source as the grays are mining it).

A ship designed to be like dolphins and tuna instead of whales. A ship that does not break down upon re entry attempts or pieces flying off as you take off. Everything in time.

87. CarlG - December 8, 2009

@54: Holy crap, that was awesome!

Seriously Sir Richard, not even the Enterprise fanfare? Shame. :P

Ok, looks like I have around 2 years to fork over 200 grand. Bank robbery it is.

88. Dani - December 8, 2009

Wow, that’s fantastic! Commercial spaceflight will bring mankind into space much faster than the under-funded NASA could ever do! Love those slick spacesuits!

89. OV-106 - December 8, 2009

#82,

The shuttle is actually pretty cheap. The fixed costs are about 3 billion/year. The more we fly the cheaper the per flight cost. Just so you know that equates to about 0.02% (two one hundreths of one percent) of the federal budget.

It is now the job of the private sector to take the lead. We are at a point where we should seriously begin to consider, and this is very much happening, turning earth to orbit transportation and all LEO operations over to the private sector. Of course, for companies to invest their own private capital in this, there needs to be a business case for it and one where money can be made. In turn, this will spur investment as well leading to better designs with increased capabilities.

What you define as cool I’m afraid is a product of TV and movies. Space is and extremely and extrordinarily different environment. Nothing really works the same there. So wings, etc are not required and to transport those to another planet is just decreasing your overall performance. Especially when the destination planet may have no atmosphere or one of such different density the wings do not work as intended anyway.

SpaceShip2 is a big step forward. It has wings because it touches the edge of space and then returns to Earth’s atmosphere. Wings, etc could be practical for this kind of application if the performance trade is worth the cost. However, it does not orbit the Earth since the performance required for that versus the current capability are starkly different. Perhaps that will be SpaceShip3, but you would have to ask Scaled Composites (the designers and manufacturers of SpaceShips 1 and 2) about that.

For any true spacecraft that operates beyond LEO expect it to look rather dull, if “coolness” is your criteria. Orion, which looks like Apollo in shape only, looks this way because the physics of it work when entering Earth’s atmosphere at intra-solar system trajectory. Anything with wings that were not severely beefed up would sheer right off.

90. subatoi - December 8, 2009

It was in Mojave, like X-Prize, I think. And that’s Pike’s birth place :)

http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Mojave

91. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

#82 SAYS: For any true spacecraft that operates beyond LEO expect it to look rather dull, if “coolness” is your criteria. Orion, which looks like Apollo in shape only, looks this way because the physics of it work when entering Earth’s atmosphere at intra-solar system trajectory. Anything with wings that were not severely beefed up would sheer right off.

—————————–
ok 82. mostly makes since. I’m still gonna put wings on my CEV model…….and sails……..and a cool Jolly Roger on the cone…..and a phase cannon………

92. M-BETA - December 8, 2009

@ 72 & 87

Thanks! It was fun to make.

93. Will_H - December 8, 2009

I agree that NASA should take a look at this and maybe rethink going to what are pretty much disposable rockets again. I understand retiring the shuttle fleet, its old, but instead of just making a bunch of disposable rockets I think it would make more sense to redesign the shuttles and build some new ones, just maybe less of them this time. Either way, though, if we ever want to get beyond this solar system there’s only one practical way of doing that and that’s to break the light-speed barrier. So that’s gonna take some serious work down here on Earth.

94. THX-1138-Wielding the Wave Motion Gun - December 8, 2009

C’mon. All they have to do is get an old battleship and outfit it for outer space. Easy peezy.

95. Desstruxion - December 8, 2009

Good idea #94. Or square off the shuttles wings and paste on some warp nacelles.

96. bmar - December 8, 2009

On a side note, in looking again at that picture of our beloved cast at the roll out of Space Shuttle Enterprise…that’s a hell of a collection of polyester isn’t it?

Gotta love the ’70′s!

97. Danpaine - December 8, 2009

If I had it, I think I’d use the $200k for something a little more practical, like…..paying my mortgage off.

98. Captain Rickover - December 8, 2009

There could be no other name for such a ship!

A good flight, VSS Enterprise!

99. Enterprise - December 8, 2009

Ah yes, another plane for billionaires to fly on.

100. GARY - December 8, 2009

BY THE CHEST!

101. Jerry from Michigan - December 8, 2009

New technologies always cost alot of money to start off with. I’m not rich so I’m all for the rich buying up alot of tickets so these commercial space entrepreneurs can afford more ships and lower prices si that someone poor like me can afford to live his dream. It will take a while but thanks to all these rich people wanting tickets in a brand new ship that has not proven its reliability, Let the rich test it out with a quarter million US dollars (lets not forget uncle sam) so the commercial space entrepreneurs can afford upgrades.

Personaly I would spend what ever it took to launch me into space even if it is a short ride.

Lets all thank the rich for making this possible :)

102. Enterprise - December 8, 2009

And we wonder why we’re in such a economy crisis.

103. Jerry from Michigan - December 8, 2009

PS.
People with morgages dont go on $200,000 trips. People who payed millions for their house in cash money go on these trips.

104. Jerry from Michigan - December 8, 2009

I can see how you would think that opening a new and potentially a very high paying job that could end up employing thousands like the airlines could be bad for the economy. All those people making $100K+ a year with all those tax dollars we could go broke! Even worse all those new jobs that this could create. Commecial Space Flight, Commercial Space Mining, Space tourisim, The building of orbiting Space Hotels, I could go on. We are going to be broke forever with all of these potential jobs and a brand new industry emerging.

WERE DOOMED!!!!!

105. Enterprise - December 8, 2009

I will never see commercial spaceflight in my lifetime. Never will. it’s a pipe dream.

106. Syd Hughes - December 8, 2009

IT WASN’T ON THE CONFERENCE ROOM WALL

NOT CANON

DOESN’T EXIST

107. Pyork - December 8, 2009

Well people here we are taking the very very first steps into the final frontier. Now all we have to do is go through WW III and then launch the Phoenix to make first contact with the Vulcans and then we go from there.

It’s too bad NASA didn’t start this. This would have been a good way to stimulate the economy.

108. Thorny - December 8, 2009

If anyone is keeping score, the actual number of person-trips into space NASA has accomplished is 855. That is, if every seat on a NASA mission were occupied by someone who’d never flown in space before, the total is 855. But most astronauts have flown more than once (the record is 7 for Franklin Chang-Diaz.)

109. Magic_Al - December 8, 2009

^38. Space Shuttle Enterprise looking fake

OV-101 received a number of, in hindsight, in my opinion, ill-advised cosmetic makeovers during its years between its approach-and-landing test flights and its handover to the Smithsonian. One reason may have been so it would look more up-to-date in photos of it in launch configuration during facility testing at Vandenberg AFB. Besides that, pretty much everything that could be used on other shuttles was stripped from it when the decision was made to build Challenger from test article OV-099 instead of rebuilding OV-101 for spaceflight. I’ve seen a photo of Enterprise’s flight deck when it actually had an aft crew station — one bit of proof the vehicle was originally intended for spaceflight since those instruments were useless as Enterprise was actually used. I wish the Smithsonian would restore Enterprise to its original appearance, as it was when it did its flying. When the shuttle program ends, perhaps the Enterprise display will be replaced with one of the orbiters that flew in space.

110. Enc - December 8, 2009

every time u see that ol pic all i think of r the fasions

94
OT question to that
did you read/like the script?

111. CarlG - December 8, 2009

@105: You’re planning on being dead by 2011?

112. Enterprise - December 8, 2009

111 I mean when actually regular people are going into space, as opposed to money grubbers.

113. Arcadian - December 8, 2009

The second ship is to be named VSS Voyager.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VSS_Voyager

114. 24th Century Rockstar - December 8, 2009

OMG! We all know where this is going folks – not Star Trek, but suborbital flight Spindrift: LA to London from LAND OF THE GIANTS!!! XD!!

Oh Irwin Allen, I always knew YOU were the true sci-fi visionary of tomorrow instead of Gene Roden-what-his-face!

- 24thCRS

115. OneBuckFilms - December 8, 2009

112 – Lets take a close look at these Money Grubbers.

The rich, and super-rich, generally pay more for goods and services, and in doing so, indirectly provide businesses and individuals a lot of funds.

The same individuals also own and run their own companies and organizations that directly employ individuals in their endeavors.

Through those companies, and through their individual generosity, they spend a lot of money on charitable organizations.

They are doing no harm here, are funding first steps into the final frontier, providing demand that entrepeneurs such as Richard Branson want to supply, and creating a market into which other companies down the line will want to compete, which in turn creates COMPETITION, which forces both parties to innovate to cut costs so they can sell more tickets cheaper, eventually leading to space being affordable to you and I.

This is how most industries and economies work.

Do not begrudge those who earn more, because they almost as much as they take in ways not always obvious.

116. OneBuckFilms - December 8, 2009

Correction: Do not begrudge those who earn more, because they GIVE almost as much as they take in ways not always obvious.

117. 24th Century Rockstar - December 8, 2009

#94) Looks like we’re only a few years away from having to find some travel agencies that will book vacations on Iscandar. :)

-24thCRS!

118. Enterprise - December 8, 2009

115 – lighten up.

119. Kenneth Adrian Ellis - December 8, 2009

“I say more power to him etc.”…I have a 4-part kinetic power which is discussed within “A Kinetic Person’s Power”(Creative Non-Fiction), Sub Titled: “Voice Command Ability” By: Kenneth Adrian Ellis. I hold a Certificate Of Copyright from the Library Of Congress for video footage on which I perform my special power. View my professional http://www.YouTube.com video just search: Kenneth A. Ellis , then check out my on-line Press Release @ http://www.prlog.org/10285981. God Bless for allowing this posting!

120. Capes - December 8, 2009

Re: 117/94

I freakin loved Star Blazers growing up….

That made me smile!

121. CarlG - December 8, 2009

@118: Cheer up. You can be such a wet blanket sometimes…

122. Enterprise - December 9, 2009

121 Whatever dude.

123. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - December 9, 2009

@115: Reaganomics, anyone? I don’t buy the trickle-down theory, I never have, I never will.

124. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - December 9, 2009

I do believe that Branson is trailblazing, and that it will encourage others to follow suit. You can call that inviting competition and you’d be partly right, but don’t forget the component of validating the concept, which is risky and, from a certain perspective, potentially altruistic.

125. KingDaniel - December 9, 2009

Where’s the shot of Richard Branson riding his bike past the under-construction VSS Enteprise and “dreaming of what might be”?

;-)

126. John in Canada, eh? - December 9, 2009

Amazing how much SpaceShip Two, under construction in the video around the 1:30 mark, looks like Cochrane’s Phoenix.
Impressive stuff! All the more so as the video plays exactly as something you’d expect to see in a 1980′s sci-fi film set in 2010.

127. kmart - December 9, 2009

#28
Actually, there was a story that circulated about a decade or so back (maybe on trekweb?) that Paramount tried to tell the navy they couldn’t have a USS ENTERPRISE anymore because they’d trademarked it. Have no idea about veracity, but it fits with my perception of most corporate entities in terms of intelligence and greed.

By it not being ‘USS,’ obviously the VirginPrise is exempt even from that level of moron legal action, but my sarcastic remark was toward Paramount’s possessiveness and general assholiness, rather than their possibly future action.

128. cinemadeus - December 9, 2009

@ Paul B.:
My mistake… I should have marked the line as a direct quote from Branson because these were his words… ;-)

129. hhgregg Peyton Manning Sony HDTV Commercial | HDTV Buy Now - December 9, 2009

[...] Virgin Christens First Commercial Passenger Spacecraft – VSS … [...]

130. OneBuckFilms - December 9, 2009

123 – Fine. But we see it in action every day. I’m guessing: Socialism is your economic system of choice. You know, nobody able to earn more than X, thus killing any reason or drive to do anything beyond a minimum level of innovation or work.

Hardly “progressive” :)

131. Nuallain - December 9, 2009

130 – Aye, I mean I mean look at all those slovenly, unambitious do-nothings on the Enterprise, eh?

Besides, a disbelief in the trickle down system isn’t socialism. It’s… a disbelief in the trickle down system. Trickle down economics is a fairly recent theory — I’m sure you’d agree capitalism wasn’t invented within the past 50 years!

I’m not sure what’s particularly socialist about low taxes for innovators and the aspirational (which is what opponents of trickle down – which ultimately solidifies the rich as rich and the poor as poor and removes incentives for aspiration) either.

132. Nuallain - December 9, 2009

Oh, and socialism doesn’t mean a cap on wages either. I don’t know any socialist government in the modern world that would do that. Rather it’s more a matter of balanced taxes so that the poor aren’t disproportionately taxed and thus have the resources and opportunities to improve themselves and their situation. Which, ultimately, is what socialism is about.

(You may have been thinking of “communism” which is actually an entirely different economic concept, no matter how much some on the right of American politics may try to conflate the two).

133. OneBuckFilms - December 9, 2009

131 – The Enterprise crew are not the majority of people in the 20th/21st Centuries, they are from a different time.

It’s fiction ;)

Perhaps you aught to consider that it takes MONEY to innovate in the first place. To aspire: it takes a human being with aspirations.

What kind of economic model DO you believe would work? Lowering taxes as an incentive is something I could get behind. Hell, lowering taxes in general is.

But lowering taxes is not an economic system, it is an incentive idea.

So I have to ask:
- When DVD came out, was it expensive?
- Who purchased the first players and sisks?
- What happened as more people purchased the players and disks?
- What happened as different companies made disks and players to sell?
- How many jobs were created as a result of this activity?

It’s called free market capitalism, and it has been working long before Reagan was the name of an actor in Hollywood.

134. Dr. Image - December 9, 2009

Actually they had planned to christen the FIRST space shuttle Columbia. It was only after the “letter campaign” did NASA christen it Enterprise.
Ironically, the Enterprise never flew, but was spared the tragedy suffered by Columbia- it would have been the Enterprise that burned up on re-entry!

As for Branson, congrats! NASA should’ve hired Burt Rutan.
Oh well, they have their rockets and capsules…

135. OneBuckFilms - December 9, 2009

132 – Socialism is more than it’s tax model.

The rich and super-rich, if over taxed, cannot employ as many individuals.

This means the poor who would otherwise be working for the rich, would be better off taking money from the State.

This is already happening with the welfare system, and yes, we need a safety net, but that effectively makes sure the poor stay poor. They get more money doing nothing than working, if they can find work at all.

The richer members of society would not see as much in the way of returns from their investments, and would have less money to invest, thus stifling the funding needed for technological development.

Incidently, this also reduces the funding the rich/super-rich can place in charitable organizations. Less money is less money.

Also, with the diminished tax income, the government is forced to increase the tax rate again. Not on the poor: they have no money. Instead: they go to the rich. The cycle then continues.

136. Thorny - December 9, 2009

134. Dr. Image… “Actually they had planned to christen the FIRST space shuttle Columbia. It was only after the “letter campaign” did NASA christen it Enterprise.”

No.

NASA’s first contract with Rockwell in 1974 was for four Orbiters: two test articles and two spaceworthy Orbiters. They were designated MPTA-098, STA-099, OV-101 and OV-102. The MPTA was an engine testbed and the STA was a structural test article. The 100-series OVs were to be full-fledged Shuttle Orbiters. Originally, OV-101 was to be only partially completed, allowing NASA to use it in the Approach and Landing Test (ALT) flights at Edwards AFB in 1977. It would later go back to Rockwell to be completed for spaceflight (with a working payload bay, engines, etc.) During the ALT program, Rockwell would be building OV-102. Therefore OV-102 would be finished for spaceflight first and was planned to make the first Shuttle orbital flight (then planned for Nov. 1978) and OV-101 would become operational about two years later in 1980-81. OV-101 was to be named CONSTITUTION and was to be unveiled on September 17, 1976… Constitution Day. NASA had already prepared the stencils to paint that name on her hull when President Ford directed NASA to rename her ENTERPRISE. She still rolled out for the first time on September 17, 1976.
In 1978, NASA and Rockwell decided that upgrading STA-099 into a full-fledged Shuttle would be cheaper than upgrading OV-101. NASA also announced that OV-102 would be named COLUMBIA and the rebuilt STA-099) would be named CHALLENGER.

137. OV-106 - December 9, 2009

@134

The idiocy of that statement astounds me.

138. BrinbBackJimKirk - December 9, 2009

Ahead Warp Factor 1

139. Harry Ballz - December 9, 2009

I wonder if Branson’s ship has an engineering section that looks like a brewery?

140. BenAvery - December 9, 2009

Have i stepped into the mirror universe or something?

First, I’m not saying “redistribute wealth” (in my comment #54). I’m saying I wish people (myself included, more often that I’d care to admit) lived their lives in such a way that truly tried to make the world a better place, rather than in a selfish “I’m going to spend the amount of money it could take to feed an entire third world nation for a week for a five minute joyride” kind of way. (Yes, there are levels of exaggeration in my statement.)

Unfortunately, I say that and I sound like a leftwing nut who wants to redistribute everyone else’s wealth. No, I just would love to see a less selfish world.

I’d also like to see a harder working world, where people didn’t just rely on governmental welfare to take care of them. Of course, I say THAT and I sound like a rightwing nut who wants to hoard everything for the sake of capitalism. No, I just believe that the worker is worth his pay. If you can contribute to society, you should.

Wanting a world where people actually treat each other with kindness . . . Sheesh, now I sound like a hippy.

That’s all I was saying. Wouldn’t it be awesome if more people were like Mother Theresa? Or, in a different way, Bill and Melinda Gates? Imagine how much better everyone’s life would be . . .

And, now I’m sounding like a lyrically stunted Beatle. Really, I don’t know why I’m posting this. Either I’m not going to explain my thoughts well or they’re going to be taken out of context . . . or both.

141. OneBuckFilms - December 9, 2009

140. I only responded to Nuallain, Enterprise et al. in the obvious distain I’m reading against the rich.

142. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - December 10, 2009

OneBuckFilms — You are essentially right about my persuasion, but I am also a “revisionist” when it comes to Socialism, etc., and I am also a realist. So, don’t assume you know exactly what I think about everything, because I am happy to engage in healthy exchange of ideas with people who do not think as I do.

The “trickle-down” theory, specifically, doesn’t work for me because it’s way too indirect to hold true at anything but the most general, vague sense. It doesn’t take into account the real effect of market fluctuations. As we all saw recently, when the market goes from bull to bear, not only does the trickle stop, but it actually goes in reverse — the lower and middle classes suffer, while the rich basically just coast or take advantage and gain wealth. And everyone on all sides of the ideological spectra agree, no free market system can stay bull forever. The net effect, I feel, is that, yes, higher GDP generally improves conditions for everyone, but when the wealthiest are free to spend as they like, they generally just invest in getting wealthier, concentrating wealth at the highest echelons, and not really letting much improve the overall state of affairs.

Anyway, returning to the case of Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic, I do applaud that kind of entrepreneurship, because it has the potential to really open up new markets, and new avenues for growth in a domains tangible to mass markets (not the flights themselves, but adjunct enterprises). In short, it’s visionary, it’s risky. (I judge these things on a case by case basis).

143. Nuallain - December 10, 2009

133. Yes, I know what free market capitalism is. My point is that you’re conflating general capitalism with trickle down economics and they’re different things.

Trickle down economics have been pretty much discredited as uneffective and even the Republican party in the US no longer uses them.

140. Why would I disdain the rich? By most people’s definitions, I think that would constitute self-loathing! Not very healthy. :)

I was simply making a point of order about the incorrect conflation of two different economic terms… not launching an attack on entrepreneurs!

144. Hat Rick - December 10, 2009

The problem with capitalism is that it rewards primarily those things that make money without taking into account that some of the things that require one to sacrifice money are actually MORE important for a society to have.

I don’t have a beef with capitalism per se, but to the extent that rewards greed to the exclusion of most other things, then that’s problematical.

Imagine if Jefferson had decided he wouldn’t rock the boat because it might threaten his status as a gentleman farmer. Imagine if corporations were given free rein because “what’s good for GM is good for America” and “the business of America is business.” Imagine if civil rights marches were quashed because it tended to disrupt the businesses on the streets where they took place.

Capitalism is wonderful, but there are other things that are far more wonderful, and let’s make it a point never to forget that.

After all, Jesus Christ was no capitalist.

145. Hat Rick - December 10, 2009

“I don’t have a beef with capitalism per se, but to the extent that it rewards greed to the exclusion of most other things, then that’s problematical.”

As corrected.

146. OneBuckFilms - December 10, 2009

I never claimed any economic system is perfect, but regardless as to whether one agrees with capitalism or not, the term Moneygrubbers being used here is simply wrong.

They earn more than me. They have more than me. I do not begrudge this.

The use of derogatory terms is petty at best. That is my beef, for the reasons outlined.

The rest: I think we can save for another venue and time.

147. Bill Lutz - December 11, 2009

Another toy for the spoiled rich…
oh well….
At least I have an imagination……

148. Doomsayer - March 23, 2010

Don’t get your hopes up! I’m waiting for the inevitable…this plastic-composite ship (with a bunch of rich idiots on board that have nothing better to do with their money) to malfunction and burn up in the atmosphere! Hopefully those on board will be all Republicans!!!

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