A decade after SpaceShipOne’s triumphant flight – commercial flights still a ways off

October 6, 2014 10:40 AM

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A decade after SpaceShipOne’s triumphant flight – commercial flights still a ways off

When Brian Binnie took off, inside SpaceShipOne, which was safely tucked under Scaled Composites’ White Knight One, it looked as if the promise of the NewSpace era – was finally about to come true. More than a decade after the historic “17P” flight– the world is still waiting. With the successful conclusion of the 17P flight on Oct. 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne completed the requirements under the Ansari X-PRIZE. However, in the decade since, the follow-on efforts to get the average citizens into space – have stalled.

Initial estimates had paying customers roaring into sub-orbit on the follow-on for this successful design, SpaceShipTwo – as early as 2007. However, that date has repeatedly slipped, with Virgin Galacitic’s owner, Sir Richard Branson, recently admitting that the first “commercial” flight will not ta...

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