- British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, has teamed up with aerospace designer, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites to form a new aerospace production company. The new firm will build a fleet of commercial suborbital spaceships and launch aircraft.
Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic–formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.
The Spaceship Company is jointly owned by Branson's Virgin Group and Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Scaled will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve. Rutan will head up the technical development team for the SS2/WK2 combination.
The Spaceship Company
This is particularly interesting in light of NASA's long-delayed return to space and the strangely timed announcement that future shuttle flights will be grounded until officials can figure out why foam chunks keep falling off during liftoff: