Virgin Galactic Strikes Deal with Swedish Government
By Peter B. de Selding | space.com
Ed note: Here is a very interesting news item concerning Knighted Sir Richard Branson's Virgin SpaceShip2 or the VSS2 rocket, quite and interesting abbreviation! Remember the old Nazi V2 rockets? Squeezing in a "SS" in there doesn't make things less interesting. If you continue reading we also bump into the 2012 date towards the end of the article. Also see: From Kiruna to space - space tourism lifts off in 2012
Doubt the connections? Check this out: V2 Records started by Branson - Voyager 2 Carrying a Voyager Golden Record - Vatican II Virgin (Mary). We also have this, the mother ship to VSS2: White Knight Two (WK2)
Spaceport Sweden = SS, Secret Service = SS, SpaceShip = SS, SchutzStaffel = SS, Swedish Security Service = SSS. We could go on and on here.
One more thing: On the same day that the agreement between Virgin galactic and Swedish government was signed, Jan. 26, The Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang was at a reception by the King and Queen at the Royal Palace, and as reported by official news sources Christer brought a “secret gift” for the King. There where no interviews or photo opportunities during this event!
Here is Christer Fuglesang's Bio from NASA: Christer Fuglesang ESA Astronaut
The Swedish government on Jan. 26 announced an agreement with suborbital space-tourism company Virgin Galactic that Swedish officials believe will lead to midsummer and mid-winter flights of Virgin's SpaceshipTwo vehicle to observe the Aurora Borealis from Sweden.
The agreement, signed at the proposed future launch site in Kiruna, Sweden, calls for no exchange of funds. Swedish officials say the Kiruna facility, already known for launching suborbital sounding rockets and atmospheric balloons, has sufficient infrastructure to accommodate Virgin Galactic and that no new investment is needed.
Olle Norberg, head of the Swedish Space Corp. Esrange launch site in Kiruna, said the memorandum of understanding signed with Virgin Galactic calls for Swedish authorities to prepare a regulatory regime modeled on what the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is doing in the United States.
Norberg said in a Jan. 26 interview that the Swedish government also will take charge of the technology-export approvals needed to export SpaceshipTwo and related hardware to Sweden during flight campaigns.
As a demonstration of its interest, Esrange authorities have proposed to launch a small sounding rocket in March 2008 into the Aurora Borealis.
Equipped with cameras, the flight would serve two purposes. It would give prospective passengers a sense of what they will view from their windows aboard SpaceshipTwo, and it will give SpaceshipTwo designer Burt Rutan and his company, Scaled Composites, a sense of what effect, if any, the Northern Lights might have on both the passengers and the electronics gear carried by SpaceshipTwo.
"Apparently this has never been done before, to fly through the Aurora Borealis," Norberg said. "We have images from above and below, but we have never taken pictures from within."
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic, said the company remains on track to complete prototypes of SpaceshipTwo in December, with test flights in New Mexico to begin in 2008 and continue until full FAA certification is received.
Whitehorn said the Kiruna site is the first agreement on SpaceshipTwo flights signed outside the United States. The company's U.S. operations are based in New Mexico.
Site "perfect" for Virgin
Whitehorn said an existing 5,000-square-meter hangar at the Esrange facility "is perfect for us," and that no capital investment is expected of Sweden. He said he was surprised to learn that even mid-winter flights from Esrange will not require SpaceshipTwo to be equipped with de-icing gear because the air is dry enough to prevent ice buildup on the aircraft.
Norberg said Sweden, which has launched rockets with U.S. motors for experiments in weightlessness for years, does not view the U.S. technology-transfer regime, known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations, to be a problem.
"We have great confidence in the work that Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites is doing, so we feel this is the time for our spaceport," Norberg said.
Norberg said the partnership with Virgin Galactic will allow Spaceport Sweden supporters to work with the suborbital spaceflight firm to tackle the myriad of details required to safe commercial launches.
"This is the kickoff for that," Norberg said. "We have set a goal to be ready to fly in the year 2012."
Sweden's space craze
Norberg told SPACE.com that the public interest in human spaceflight in Sweden peaked in December with NASA's successful STS-116 mission to the International Space Station. Sweden's first astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, represented the European Space Agency on the STS-116 crew and performed three of the mission's four spacewalks.
"It was a complete space craze here in Sweden. Christer's flight was reported on a minute-by-minute basis," Norberg said. "We're in a very good movement where the people's interest is really peaking, and we'll be able to use that kind of atmosphere."
Fuglesang received a hero's welcome this week after returning to Sweden, where he is expected to dine with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia tonight.
"So people are really fascinated by spaceflight," Norberg said.
SPACE.com staff writer Tariq Malik contributed to this report from New York City.
VIDEO: X Prize Space Elevator Races
VIDEO: Virgin Galactic: Let the Journey Begin
VIDEO: How to Build a Tour-Ship for Space
'Wow' Moments Await SpaceShipTwo Passengers, Pilot Says
Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo Interior Concept
Space Tourism: Multimedia Adventure!
Special Report: The New Space Race
All About Space Tourism
Article from: http://space.com/
Swedish Space Corporation; Rymdbolaget
Billionaire Picks One-Horse Town To Start Space Empire
Blue Origin Spaceport Plans are Talk of Texas Town
Spaceport Sweden open for business
Latest News from our Front Page
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief
The BBC has reached a â€śprovisional findingâ€ť to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a â€śsoftâ€ť interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montagueâ€™s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech"
The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified'
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...
|More News » |