Virgin Galactic and NASA join forces to develop civilian high Mach vehicles

Virgin Galactic and its subsidiary The Spaceship Company have signed the Space Act Agreement with NASA to facilitate the development of high-speed technology. After focusing essentially on space tourism, the company founded by Richard Branson is now extending its business horizons by collaborating with the US space agency.

The company is mainly focused on the preparation of high-altitude atmospheric flights on SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes, which recently has made the first solo flight. In addition to space tourism, the company, in collaboration with NASA, is engaged in other areas: it sends the agency’s scientific instruments to flight and also plans to carry astronauts on its space planes in preparation for full-fledged space flights.

The organizations did not disclose specific plans for cooperation but stated that its ultimate goal was to produce technically feasible, high Mach vehicles for potential civil applications. In general, vehicles capable of transporting people between two distant points at very high speeds.

The joint activity is based on three points: speed, safety, and environmental sustainability. Virgin Galactic will provide all its engineering knowledge and skills in design and production to develop in synergy with NASA unprecedented techniques, technologies, tools that are able to bring aviation into a real new generation.

This is the beginning of an important partnership for Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company that will support the future development of aviation technology. Virgin Galactic’s unique experience and innovative technology platform will, in partnership with the historical capabilities of NASA and other government agencies, enable the progression of new technical steps that will improve US competitiveness. We see this as an area with tremendous growth potential that we will continue to invest in, alongside our commercial spaceflight operations,said George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic Holdings.

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