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Virgin Galactic get clearance for rocket test flights

Virgin Galactic have been working hard to offer members of the public the opportunity to travel into space onboard a rocket powered craft. Their partner Scaled Composites have been granted an experimental permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is the first step in getting their dream a reality.

No details have yet been released to detail when the public will be able to pay for the travel, however the test programme already involves some famous names. Actor Ashton Kutcher signed up with Virgin Galactic so he could experience the weightlessness experience during suborbital flight.

The first craft, SpaceShipTwo is air launched from a twin fuselage carrier aeroplane. Once it is separated from the aeroplan, SpaceShipTwo will fire the rocket engine and launch into suborbital flight. The companies are now working to get the rocket motor integrated into SpaceShipTwo, a six passenger craft owned by Virgin Galactic.

Scaled Composites won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004 for SpaceShipOne, now on display in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Richard Branson and his company Virgin Group, owns part of Virgin Galactic, alongside Aabar Investments PJS. They hired designer Burt Rutan to create a fleet of space craft for commercial use.

Kitguru says: The cost will be prohibitive for members of the public, but some people will be willing to pay for the exciting suborbital experience.

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