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Virgin Galactic in space. Note the vertical position of the wings.

Mated to the Mothership: just prior to launch.
Tourism flights booking now; first takeoff in mid-2009

Virgin Galactic, the spaceflight division of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, formally unveiled its first spacecraft in New York City today. The ship, named SpaceShipTwo, is nearing the final phases of construction by Scaled Composites.

Today's announcement was bittersweet.  In June, the aircraft will begin is mandated 50 test flights before carrying a single passenger.  But this incredible success is not without its price: one of SpaceShipTwo's engines killed three Scaled Composites employees during a test last July.  Branson and Scaled Composites would not comment if the explosion delayed the project.

Safety is paramount at Virgin Galactic.  Branson claimed ex-Trekker William Shatner was scheduled as one of the first to fly on SpaceShipTwo, though Shatner then publicly made the claim, "I do want to go up, but I need guarantees I'll definitely come back."

The risks of spaceflight have not deterred others.  Virgin Galactic claims up to 200 people have already booked seats on the sub-orbital craft through 2009. Though the initial ticket price is $200,000, a British businessman named Alan Watts was able to redeem two million frequent flier miles for a 2009 flight.  Branson promised that after the first 100 passengers, the deposit cost will dip to $100,000 for the next 400 passengers. 

Eventually, Branson hopes to bring suborbital flight to as low as $20,000 per person. 

The ship will reach a maximum altitude of 68 miles, just exceeding the formal boundary of space. Total time for each flight is projected to be in the 2.5 hour range, which includes six minutes of weightlessness at the peak of the suborbital phase.

The spacecraft will fold its wings up for reentry into atmosphere, then fold them back again immediately before landing.

Launches will occur from underneath a mother ship known as WhiteKnightTwo, also unveiled in New York today.  All flights will originate from Upham, New Mexico.



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Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 1:55:29 PM , Rating: 6
quote:
though Shatner then publicly made the claim, "I do want to go up, but I need guarantees I'll definitely come back."
I know Shatner is just an actor...but his response here really disappointed me. 75 years old, and, to many people, the public face of space travel...and he turns down one of the first flights into space?

Why oh why do we respect these people?




RE: Disappointed
By bfellow on 1/23/2008 2:05:58 PM , Rating: 4
Umm after hearing the test explosion, I would be concerned about my own safety too.

It's not every day you get incinerated in mid-flight.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 2:09:32 PM , Rating: 4
That's why you do testing, to iron out problems before real flights. And don't forget, there'll be a year of actual test flights before the first commercial one.

In any case, Shatner made his comments months before the explosion.


RE: Disappointed
By ChristopherO on 1/23/2008 8:17:42 PM , Rating: 3
True, but NASA has lost missions after "rigorous testing" (and hundreds of thousands of man-hours of engineering). The risk of catastrophic failure appears to be 2%. Sure, I want to go into space someday, but I'm not going with a 2% chance of death. Scaled Composites hasn't proven they are any better than that.

If you want a figurehead, get John Glenn or Neil Armstrong. Both of them are getting old, but at least they understand the risks and have accepted them before. Plus I think it's more fitting to put a real NASA astronaut in space than Captain Kirk.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 9:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "I want to go into space someday, but I'm not going with a 2% chance of death"

For the first emigrants to precolonial America, the risk of death was nearly 50%...and people still came. Have we as a culture really lost so much courage?

BTW, NASA's record on suborbital flights is 100%....and that's with 1960s-era technology.

> "I think it's more fitting to put a real NASA astronaut in space "

And what does that prove to the average person? We already know "real NASA astronauts" can go to space. The goal here is to show space travel is achievable by anyone.


RE: Disappointed
By ChristopherO on 1/23/2008 11:27:00 PM , Rating: 3
"The goal here is to show space travel is achievable by anyone."

True, but it would be going full circle. The first time Glenn went into space was on the back of the public treasury. I think it is immeasurably symbolic to show a transition to privatized industry. I'd put Glenn, Rutan, and Branson on the inaugural flight. I admire that symbolism more than whatever The Shat chooses to do with his life. If the guy wanted to be a real hero he could have joined the police rather than playing a cop on TV.

I think Hugh Laurie said it best in reference to his father (a real doctor): "I do feel bad that now I'm pretending to do what my dad did and getting paid more for it than he ever did."

"Have we as a culture really lost so much courage?"

"We" never had that much courage. It takes brave men and women to do great things. I'm sure you could find millions willing to take the risk, but that's still a tiny subset of the population.

The SS1 safety record isn't that great. During flight they had an unexplained detonation that severely deformed an engine cowling, on the first X-Prize qualifier went into a spin that almost resulted in an abort, and finally lost three men to a supposedly safe ground-test.

I don't know what the actual percentages happen to be, but I'd guess the risk of catastrophic failure is a heck of a lot higher than anything NASA has ever operated. It's not like they launched SS1 without any testing. They went through a formal suite and still experienced these problems.

Should Virgin Galactic go to space? Sure, but that doesn't make someone a chicken if they aren't willing to take the risk.


RE: Disappointed
By rupaniii on 1/30/2008 10:20:04 AM , Rating: 2
They don't make em like they used to!


RE: Disappointed
By maverick85wd on 1/28/2008 7:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but I'm not going with a 2% chance of death


Wussy!

I'd do it right now. I love aeronautics, and I've ALWAYS wanted to go to space. I would accept up to 35% chance of death if it would get me to the moon. Then again, I also want to be an astronaut. The thing about space travel is you really never know. They can calculate probability of death all they want; the reality is that, once you go that far out, there just is no guarantee. I know the same can be said for automobiles and airplanes, but it's really not the same so don't!


RE: Disappointed
By Samus on 1/24/2008 3:49:32 PM , Rating: 2
Right. Would you rather all the engine failure hadn't occured during testing, and occured in space?

The men who died testing these engines could be considered hero's. They probably found faulty fuel delivery lines or seals that will be corrected in the finished engines, saving this thing from being another titanic.


RE: Disappointed
By TimberJon on 1/24/2008 4:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
To be noted is the fact that, they probably destroyed a few props while on the original show.

He's a smart guy. I wouldn't be too excited to get on an untested spacecraft either. Kudos and props for you if you come out of it ok, but years later you will say "I was on the first flight" and people will not care. Big deal.

Cant wait until we have "rock rats"


RE: Disappointed
By mezman on 1/25/2008 6:42:19 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that would really suck if that did happen to you every day.


RE: Disappointed
By phaxmohdem on 1/23/2008 2:08:58 PM , Rating: 5
You don't question William Shatner.


RE: Disappointed
By TSS on 1/23/2008 2:16:13 PM , Rating: 4
maybe because sending a senior citizen up to the most hostile enviroment we've ever know that's never actually been there (unlike the lunar landings, star trek *was* recorded in a hollywood studio) isn't exactly the safest thing to do. sure the oldest person in space, john glenn, could do it at age 77. but shatner isn't a trained astronaut.

honestly he's right. it wouldn't look too great if the next headline was "kirk dies in space". once they've tested the thing in real life, carried a few people (i'd presume people closest to the project will want to go first) he'll do it.

would you commit to something that hasn't even flown yet at age 75? more honestly would you even feel the need for such an adventure at age 75? i'd seriously doubt it. especially when your born 22 march 1931, so he's 76 now, 77 soon and well into 78 by the time this thing actually flies in 2009.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 2:40:10 PM , Rating: 5
> "...but shatner isn't a trained astronaut."

He's not being asked to drive the bloody thing.

Personally, I think a person whose grown rich and famous from portraying a space captain would want to visit space at least once before he dies, particularly since the trip is free.

Of course, waiting until hundreds of others have already flown, and it's no more adventurous than a bus trip across town is always an option. Does that really meet the goal though?

Of course, that depends on what your goals are. If they're simply to get rich and famous without advancing society in any way...why then, you're right, why take the risk?

As for this being "the most hostile environment ever", I'm quite confident the trip will be orders of magnitude safer than what, say, your average fireman experiences in a burning building.


RE: Disappointed
By ajfink on 1/23/2008 3:11:20 PM , Rating: 5
Drive it?

Damnit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a pilot!


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/23/2008 3:19:18 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Personally, I think a person whose grown rich and famous from portraying a space captain would want to visit space at least once before he dies, particularly since the trip is free.


So you're saying that someone who might have grown rich and famous from portraying, let's say, a serial killer (Anthony Hopkins) would want to kill someone at least once before he dies?

quote:
waiting until hundreds of others have already flown, and it's no more adventurous than a bus trip across town is always an option.


How you compare a flight into space to a bus ride is beyond me. Also, are you saying that once others have done something, there's no use in trying it because it's not "new" or you're not the "first"? If that's the case, we should all pretty much quit everything, and never try anything new.

quote:
Of course, that depends on what your goals are. If they're simply to get rich and famous without advancing society in any way...why then, you're right, why take the risk?


Please tell me how William Shatner going into space would advance us as a society in any way that TJ Hooker didn't.

Vanilla


RE: Disappointed
By ttowntom on 1/23/08, Rating: -1
RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/23/2008 5:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Branson thought Shatner in space would advance the company enough to more than pay for the cost of a free ticket.


Note the OP spoke of advancing us as a society, not advanvcement of the company. I fully agree this would advance the company, but not society.

Also, I don't think that actors, athletes, or musicians are entitled to "give anything back". If we as a society deem it necessary to make them rich and famous, that's nobody's fault but our own. And when they don't reciprocate to the level of some fevered fanboi's expectations, they get bashed for being self centered and unappreciative. I say let them get their money and live their lives. They owe us nothing save a thank you.

Vanilla


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 5:15:24 PM , Rating: 3
> "I fully agree this would advance the company, but not society."

Advancing private spaceflight does advance society. A hell of a lot more than the other cause actors typically support.

> "Also, I don't think that actors, athletes, or musicians are entitled to "give anything back". "

That's a valid opinion. Personally I can't understand why anyone would turn down a free flight, especially an actor famous for exploring space, but certainly opinions differ.


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 5:20:29 PM , Rating: 3
Cause he values his safety over Branson's publicity. If Richard Branson and Virgin are to be the driving force of future manned space flight, then that saddens me. Exploration of space and scientific discoveries should advance society more than private celebrity orgies in 0g.


RE: Disappointed
By maverick85wd on 1/28/2008 7:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
orgies in 0g


and the imagination just took off.... my GOD that would be awesome....


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/23/2008 5:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Advancing private spaceflight does advance society. A hell of a lot more than the other cause actors typically support.


I'll agree to an extent. I personally think this project is more about Branson advancing his name and his bank account than it is advancing the state of private space travel. But as you said, opinions differ.

V.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 5:39:42 PM , Rating: 1
> "I personally think this project is more about Branson advancing his name and his bank account than it is advancing the state of private space travel."

That's the beauty of capitalism. Branson advancing Virgin Galactic also advances space travel...and thus, society as a whole. There isn't a space pundit alive who doesn't agree that private enterprise is the key to developing space.


RE: Disappointed
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 8:24:17 AM , Rating: 1
Funny thing is that in startrek universe capitalism has failed and droped long ago, it's related to something very primitive to their standards. Don't know about the actual system they use though.

Anyway, IMHO capitalism isn't beutiful, it's useful to some extend. Like any other system, which has ever existed, it will sucumb to the passage of time and replaced with something else.


RE: Disappointed
By Hawkido on 1/25/2008 11:45:37 AM , Rating: 3
Uh, star trek was a communist society.

There was no pay, only provisioning based on social or military position.


RE: Disappointed
By SlyNine on 2/10/2008 12:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
It was a true communisim, nothing like we have ever seen in real life. I'm not saying it would work that way though.


RE: Disappointed
By maven81 on 1/23/2008 5:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
How is Shatner in space going to advance the company? It's not like there are people out there with 200,000 dollars in their pocket sitting there thinking "hmm... I always wanted to do a flight like this, but I'll only do it if Shatner does". If they have that kind of money, they'll go anyway, regardless of who's flown or not. That goes for the Star Trek fans too... if there are fans out there who have that kind of money (and there are), they would likely already want to go in space.

As for giving back to the fans that's just ludicrous. I don't know of any fans out there who's biggest dream is to see Shatner fly into space. If anything their biggest dream is probably to meet him.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 5:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
> "How is Shatner in space going to advance the company?"

Are you kidding? It's a celebrity endorsement, by the one person most famous for exploring space. The publicity alone is easily worth ten times the price of the ticket...which is why Branson made the offer in the first place.


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 5:27:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is absurd. Celebrity endorsement? So...what will happen? This Virgin project is not available to the public even at $20,000. This is the Concord part 2. People who can afford it will go no matter how many celebrities attend.

Celebrity endorsements work on the masses because they are much more influenced by them. It's not a big deal here. It might make an extra few headlines if he went, that's all and I wouldn't risk my safety for a few headlines. Especially at 75.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 5:38:01 PM , Rating: 1
> "Celebrity endorsements work on the masses "

Believe it or not, a lot of wealthy people are no more intelligent than "the masses". The fact that a name they know well chose to fly WILL have an impact.

And even ignoring that, the sheer amount of free publicity generated would pay for the ticket ten times over.

> "I wouldn't risk my safety for a few headlines..."

Your ancestors were braver than you. And lucky of us also...or else this nation would have never been born.


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 6:15:21 PM , Rating: 1
So you're comparing the birth of a nation to some news headlines.

Cute.

Give the man a break.


RE: Disappointed
By maven81 on 1/23/2008 6:21:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Believe it or not, a lot of wealthy people are no more intelligent than "the masses". The fact that a name they know well chose to fly WILL have an impact.


Get real. Either they already wanted to go into space, or they didn't. If they didn't, seeing Shatner fly isn't going to change their mind. And there won't be a shortage of volunteers anyway, because they'll want to brag about it to their friends, until it becomes the "in thing" then they'll turn to something else to try to impress eachother...

quote:
Your ancestors were braver than you. And lucky of us also...or else this nation would have never been born.


This is just classic Masher... trying to turn this into into a "if you disagree you're not a patriot of this country"
The US was born because people risked their lives to make headlines? HUH?!


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 6:57:12 PM , Rating: 3
> "This is just classic Masher... trying to turn this into into a "if you disagree you're not a patriot of this country"

Lol, I said nothing of the sort. The issue isn't patriotism; it's the courage of the frontier spirit...or lack of it, as the case may be. The fact remains that, had your ancestors not posssessed that spirit and risked their lives, the nation would indeed not have been born.

Space IS the final frontier. One day Virgin Galactic flights may be the one colonizing other planets, perhaps even discovering other forms of life. Shatner had a chance to be remembered immemoriably as the one of its first passengers. Instead, he chose to go down as a washed-up actor that history will forget in 50 years.


RE: Disappointed
By maven81 on 1/24/2008 6:06:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The issue isn't patriotism; it's the courage of the frontier spirit...or lack of it, as the case may be. The fact remains that, had your ancestors not posssessed that spirit and risked their lives, the nation would indeed not have been born.


What are you talking about? The Nation had existed as a series of colonies/settlements before it became what we know as the United States. And the majority of those settlers didn't arrive seeking glory or the final frontier... Some were religious refugees running for their lives, some indentured servants working here to pay off debt, some were even brought against their will. With those that went west, many were seeking fortune (goldrush), land, etc, in other words they had something to gain. And these are the people that this Nation was built on... I'm afraid history isn't as rosy, selfless and courageous as you think it is.


RE: Disappointed
By Ringold on 1/23/2008 11:14:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Get real. Either they already wanted to go into space, or they didn't. If they didn't, seeing Shatner fly isn't going to change their mind.


I've never even touched a marketing class, I consider it to be a refined art of prostitution, but even I'm shaking my head here. Products dont magically become known to all people who may be interested. Believe it or not, a lot of people don't give a damn about tech news -- they have, imagine this, other interests! Asides from the X-Prize event itself, this has got almost zero press.

This is, by the way, why we have "commercials". CNBC, for example, has viewers with the highest average net worth of any channel I'm aware of.. and yet, people don't know everything, or they must not, because some people are so apparently stupid as to continue to run advertisements on CNBC! Stunningly.. some times, there is even a celebrity in them!

Seriously, all you people have much weaker than normal points here. The only impression I'm walking away with here is that Masher got his OP put to 6 and the peanut gallery wants to try to pick him and whatever his issues are apart.


RE: Disappointed
By maven81 on 1/24/2008 5:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
You totally ignored the point. I didn't say that this didn't need any advertising, just that having Shatner in the ad would make no difference to those who don't care. It wouldn't matter if it was Shatner, James Cameron, or their next door neighbor, if they didn't want to do it, it wouldn't be so easy to convince them.
On the other hand those who have an interest in this sort of thing would respond to an ad even if it was just Branson himself. For instance have you EVER seen an ad for space adventures flights on the Russian Soyz? I haven't, and the only people that have flown so far are just really rich businesspeople, and yet they say they have a long list of volunteers.

As for Masher, his rating was already down to 0, and then magically changed to a 6... enough said.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/24/2008 11:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
> "just that having Shatner in the ad would make no difference to those who don't care."

You missed the point. It's not paid advertising we're talking about...its all the *free* advertising that having a celebrity go up would generate. That's thousands of news stories that Branson wouldn't have to pay for.

Priceless...and Branson understands it far better than you. Which explains why he was willing to offer a $200K ticket in exchange for it.


RE: Disappointed
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 8:55:32 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Your ancestors were braver than you. And lucky of us also...or else this nation would have never been born.


Hmmm, this argument is fallacious. You're appealing to the masses. "Brave" people do many fantastic things, but stupid things as well.

Anyway, this sort of "patriotic" call works both ways you know. It's not the "bell&whistles" you want to make out of it.

I do understand your oppinion though, but just don't agree with it.


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 5:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A lot of famous actors believe they should "give something back" to the fans that made them rich. I guess Shatner doesn't feel that way. Oh well.


Going on this flight would not give anything back to the fans. Zero. Stop being foolish. He has a great right to want to keep his feet firmly on the ground!


RE: Disappointed
By ttowntom on 1/23/2008 5:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Going on this flight would not give anything back to the fans.
I'm a fan (an ex-fan rather) and I say it would. Any fan of Star Trek is a fan of space travel itself. We certainly didn't watch the show for Shatner's acting ability.


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 5:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
(an ex-fan rather)


Sorry friend, you never really appreciated him or the show if something like this changed your opinion.

PS. I thought his acting was quite good.


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/23/2008 5:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
I always prefered his singing to his acting....

V.


RE: Disappointed
By onelittleindian on 1/23/2008 5:50:02 PM , Rating: 2
Shatner's a putz. I didn't like him before I read this and I like him even less now. What sort of ******* old grandmother turns down a trip into space?

PS. If you liked his acting, you never watched TJ Hooker.


RE: Disappointed
By maverick85wd on 1/28/2008 7:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that just because an actor is famous for space movies does not necessarily mean that person has to actually WANT to go into space as it is not required to act. It is kind of disappointing, but what can you do?

However I do see where Masher is coming from. Something like a sub-orbital flights will become probably loose their flare after they have been operating for a few years and there are so many pictures of other people's trips you already know what it looks like. Not that someone should be discouraged from experiencing something for themselves, but soon enough people are going to want to go somewhere they can spend the night and/or actually walk on something off our dear Terra.


RE: Disappointed
By TSS on 1/23/2008 8:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
actually as far as i know should decompression occur and shatner be exposed to space, he'll either burn to a crisp if he hits sunlight, freeze over if he's in the shadow, or blow up like a balloon, faster then you can show me any fireman's death in a fire. also, that's for just beeing there. if a fireman is just inside a burning building i'd recon he can find a spot where it's a lot cooler then actually in a flame, while space is either frickin hot or cold, nothing in between. not to mention returning to earth making your vehicle hotter then any burning building, everywhere. your chances of survival? take a space shuttle up in space and let it stay in a burning house, you tell me which of the 2 will most likely "survive".

i'd want to see space as much as anybody, shatner does too probably. but honestly i don't think the guy is tired of living and wants to come back. and have some guarantee as well. i was referring to his health when i said "no trained astronaut", as a 78 year old retired actor shouldn't really be compared concerning physical shape to an 77 year old veteran astronaut.

quote:
Of course, waiting until hundreds of others have already flown, and it's no more adventurous than a bus trip across town is always an option. Does that really meet the goal though?


i'd doubt you've missed the past half century, so people going to space isn't exactly "adventurous" anymore. those trips they take aren't any more adventurous then this craft, if anything even more simply by time spent in space. you might argue it's commercial flight, but as i recall the USS enterprise was from starfleet, the closest we'll ever see to an interstellar *militairy*.

besides that, there isn't a single thing shatner can do now to "advance" society, that he hasn't done already. a lot of kids must have seen star trek and wanted to actually develop the stuff they saw, which might've been the source of inspiration for many things we have today.


RE: Disappointed
By masher2 (blog) on 1/23/2008 9:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
should decompression occur and shatner be exposed to space, he'll either burn to a crisp if he hits sunlight, freeze over if he's in the shadow, or blow up like a balloon, faster then you can show me any fireman's death in a fire...
Sounds like you've been watching too many Hollywood movies. You won't "instantly burn to a crisp" from exposure to the sun in space...though you'll get a mighty bad sunburn in under a minute. In the shadow, you won't freeze either. Space is a gigantic vacuum thermos bottle...shedding heat takes a while. In fact, if it wasn't for evaporative cooling, you'd stay warm forever.

The real problem is hypoxia and ebulism from the decompression. Still, even if you wound up in space without a suit, you can survive for a full minute or so with no lasting damage...assuming you don't do something silly like try to hold your breath.

quote:
a 78 year old retired actor shouldn't really be compared concerning physical shape to an 77 year old veteran astronaut.
Err, first of all the physical condition of a septuagenarian has a lot more do with how they've eaten and exercised the past few decades, than it does with the physical training they had two thirds of a lifetime earlier.

Second of all, SpaceShipTwo accelerates at about half the g's of the Space Shuttle...and it stays in space for all of six minutes, rather than a few days. The idea that it would require an ex-astronaut to make the trip is wholly off base.

In fact, your own statements prove the benefit of having someone like Shatner fly, just to dispell some of the misconceptions about the flight, the risks, and stresses thereof.


RE: Disappointed
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 9:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sounds like you've been watching too many Hollywood movies.


Lol. I'm starting to believe you're the one watching too many Hollywood movies. At least Shatner seems to be able to discern between his acting carrer and the risk to die in space just to please the fans.

You're right on track about the scientific explanation though.

But anyway, think for awhile: all the brave astronauts of the mercury, apollo and shuttle missions seem to born wanting to go into space, they breath and dream SPACE their whole life, and their willing to accept the risk associated. You must respect those who were born with a inner nature to never to leave this planet, even if they did scifi ...


RE: Disappointed
By Fnoob on 1/23/2008 11:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
"He's not being asked to drive the bloody thing."

lmao - BUT! You know everyone on that flight will be waiting for his fat ass to say "Engage"...


RE: Disappointed
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/23/2008 2:43:16 PM , Rating: 4
Why not? He died in space once already.


RE: Disappointed
By othercents on 1/23/2008 2:54:10 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe he is waiting for a repeat performance.


RE: Disappointed
By jedisoulfly on 1/23/2008 4:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
actualy kirk dies on a planet.


RE: Disappointed
By Amiga500 on 1/23/2008 3:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
but shatner isn't a trained astronaut

Thats what Sulu and Chekov are there for!


RE: Disappointed
By jedisoulfly on 1/23/2008 4:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
"Captian space wessel decloacking"


RE: Disappointed
By Flunk on 1/23/2008 2:17:06 PM , Rating: 5
What does he owe you? It's his life, so what if you consider him "the public face of space travel". It is his right choose to risk himself or not.


RE: Disappointed
By Hafgrim on 1/23/2008 2:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
BUT!! The real question is who would in a fight on-board that flight, Kirk or Chuck Norris!?!?!

Kirk! KIRK! KIRK!! lol

^^
Haf


RE: Disappointed
By Cygni on 1/23/2008 2:38:17 PM , Rating: 4
The quote takes away all context. I think its incredibly likely that he was laughing when he said it.

Even the earliest astronauts would ask for SOME guarantee they would come back. Wouldnt you?


RE: Disappointed
By Spuke on 1/23/2008 3:34:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Even the earliest astronauts would ask for SOME guarantee they would come back. Wouldnt you?
I think asking for a guarantee on something so inherently dangerous is silly. If you need a guarantee to come back alive from a space flight then just stay at home and watch it on TV.


RE: Disappointed
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 9:17:02 AM , Rating: 2
Read upon Apollo 1 mission ...


RE: Disappointed
By maven81 on 1/23/2008 2:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
So wait a minute....

Aside from what seems to be an insinuation that 75 year olds shouldn't be too worried about dying, you're saying it's somehow unreasonable to stake your life on a technology
that has yet to be flight tested? If the spaceship had ALREADY made 50 successful flights, and THEN he was asked to fly, that would be a different story.


RE: Disappointed
By maven81 on 1/23/2008 3:51:41 PM , Rating: 5
Wait... did Masher just rate himself up to a 6 because his ego couldn't take the fact that he was getting rated down or what?!


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/23/2008 4:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
What? Masher has an ego? Please provide references for this FUD. =P


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 4:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
lol seriously. I guess I'll post now cause I was only concerned with rating that silly comment down and since that can't happen anymore. Well first off Shatner didn't turn anything down. He merely wanted reassurance that he would survive. Big difference, if they can't offer that than I wouldn't even go!

Plus this is all besides the point, it's not his responsibility. Futhermore, this is a "poor-mans" spaceflight (with a $200,000 price tag!). You barely get into space, it's short and look at those windows! You probably couldn't get much of a panoramic view.

Seems like a gimmick novelty for people with money to burn.


RE: Disappointed
By ttowntom on 1/23/2008 4:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Shatner turned down the first offer flat. He even went so far as to say, "it's not my idea of a good time". After the controversy started, he decided on the "guaranttee I'll come back story".

Sigourney Weaver, now, booked a flight the first day Virgin Galactic started taking orders.


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 5:09:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well the article doesn't detail what he initially said.

Honestly who cares? He's not the "front-man for space travel". People love him for the way he's entertained us over the decades. Him not going on this gimmick-Virgin adventure is not going to change anyone's opinions of him, nor should be give any less legitimacy to this Virgin space flight.


RE: Disappointed
By ttowntom on 1/23/2008 5:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
It changed my opinion of him when I first read about it a few years ago. (he turned down the first offer back in 2006 I think).


RE: Disappointed
By cochy on 1/23/2008 5:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well honestly that's sad.

No offense.


RE: Disappointed
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 9:24:28 AM , Rating: 2
Disagree: That's honest and intelligent.

I love space, i wanted to be an astronaut when i was young. But really, things must be tested over and over before they nake it to the public. It's like overclocking your CPU and running prime for just 5 minutes. You're either fooling yourself or you're extremelly lucky. Wise people would tell you to run prime for 24 hours, but hey that's just me ... and excuse the analogy.


RE: Disappointed
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 1/23/2008 5:43:20 PM , Rating: 1
I rated him up. Nobody else can make a 6 but me.


RE: Disappointed
By Iketh on 1/23/2008 4:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
i had the same thought after i read his statement, but it turned back into admiration a few short seconds later because i've always respected him for having a very down-to-earth personality, and that's what he's showing here


RE: Disappointed
By Xenoterranos on 1/23/2008 4:36:54 PM , Rating: 5
Why did this deserve a 6?


RE: Disappointed
By PlasmaBomb on 1/23/2008 5:13:07 PM , Rating: 1
Ask Kris


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/23/08, Rating: -1
RE: Disappointed
By Ringold on 1/23/2008 11:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe some folk need to grow up.


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Disappointed
By onelittleindian on 1/24/2008 11:11:49 AM , Rating: 2
No need to act like a 12 year old. Can we please keep the boards a little civil :(


RE: Disappointed
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/24/2008 5:20:13 PM , Rating: 1
I apologize if I offended your delicate sensibilities.

V.


RE: Disappointed
By Hawkido on 1/25/2008 11:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
The Saht didn't say he wouldn't go... I think he will make up his mind once tests start comming back successful.

However I do beile he should go up as an episode of Boston Legal... It sounds like something Denny Crane would do. And if for some reason it should end in disaster then have that written into the show. But I do believe it would be better if it succeeded, much better story.

Denny Crane in SSPPAAACCEEEE!


RE: Disappointed
By Frallan on 1/28/2008 12:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
Oh well - thats an easy one... I can guarantee that he will come down :0) maybe not in one piece but ohh yes what goes up must....


sell tickets on White Knight too?
By johnsonx on 1/23/2008 3:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
They should sell cheap tickets on the White Knight to watch the launches. That'd be worth a grand or two I imagine.




RE: sell tickets on White Knight too?
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 9:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, yeah. Imagine something goes wrong and the ship heads to the moon.

W.Shatner:
"Are we engaging warp 1 or warp 2 ?"

Pilot:
"Do you want me to launch some photon torpedoes captain ?"

W.Shatner:
"Nope, just fix the damn engines on this can'o'worms ! Oh dear ... how i miss my Enterprise ..."

Pilot:
"Ok sir, do you want me to contact Scotty or Spock"

W.Shatner:
"Please, call Spock, i knew i should've listen to my reasoning instead of that bunch of heartfelt 'locos' fans. Now they will probably create a new religion or something. Wait .... lost in space was another show ... i'm mumbling ..."


Taxi Driver
By UppityMatt on 1/23/2008 1:47:59 PM , Rating: 1
Thats one cab driver job i would want!




RE: Taxi Driver
By Mrduder11 on 1/23/2008 3:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, on a 20,000 dollar fare at the very least, you certainly would make a nice tip if you were a solid driver. :D


RE: Taxi Driver
By Ringold on 1/23/08, Rating: 0
Privatization
By Screwballl on 1/23/08, Rating: 0
RE: Privatization
By pauldovi on 1/23/2008 2:46:02 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed.

Scaled operated on a much smaller budget than NASA and they are much more efficient (and successful). They are actually going to generate a profit from space travel.


RE: Privatization
By MAIA on 1/24/2008 9:57:18 AM , Rating: 2
Some times i wonder about the differences between fundamentalist liberalism and anarcho-capitalism ...

Anyway, you're comparing levels of efficiency on different levels of enterpenourism. Like a can'o'worms, 1/10 the size of a sapce shuttle could perform the same tasks and take the same payload to space. Imagine this "space toy" ship building the ISS, it would take a bag of bolts at a time. Please ...

Anyway, space exploration is aimed at humanity, to know our origins and our place in the universe. It has to do with curiosity and answering existential questions, not profit. For the best on space exploration i hope it stays this way...


two million frequent flier miles
By Homerboy on 1/23/2008 2:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
jeebus




Forget Your Earthly Worries?
By Ruthay on 1/23/2008 3:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's ironic that this article appears adjacent to two other articles headlined: "Army Recruiting More Drop-outs" and "Bankrupt Sub Prime CEO Murder Suicide" on my news search engine.

The possibility of average folks viewing Earth from the heavens shows how far we've come technologically. But eventually passengers must land back here on Earth.




having seen spaceship one
By kattanna on 1/23/2008 4:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
i'd like to make the trek back out there and see this new one doing some of its test flights.

and about shatner, personally, i'd like to see him on camera when he goes and as he reaches orbit turn around and look at the camera and go

Denny crane!




Superman
By adam92682 on 1/24/2008 12:18:18 AM , Rating: 2
after seeing superman returns, I dont trust virgin galactic.




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