Posts Tagged ‘Richard Branson’

I want to be an astronaut when I grow up!

Virgin Galactic’s successful rocket-powered test flight

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m not sure why adults ask kids this question. I do know I often had to provide an answer. My most frequent answer was “a teacher” with an occasional  “lawyer” or “interpreter” thrown in. Looking back on my life I fulfilled the prediction of becoming a teacher and enjoyed it immensely. From that beginning, my work career was a journey of twists and turns that led me to my true passion, the world of travel and helping others experience our world.

There’s still one experience I want to add to my CV, traveling into Space, and I’m hot on the trail of achieving this goal! Many of you know I represent Sir Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic, and am an Accredited Space Agent. I can help you reserve a seat aboard one of Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital Space flights, which Sir Richard predicts will begin in 2014. I’ve seen the mother ship and in 2009 I witnessed the unveiling of the spaceship in Mojave, California, along with 800 other guests from around the world. Last year Michael and I toured Spaceport America, a magnificent and Earth-friendly structure in New Mexico.

Wherever I go I ask people if they want to take a flight into Space and I tend to get varied reactions. Once, after being pulled over for speeding, I asked the police officer if he’d be interested in a space flight, he gave me a quizzical look and shined his flashlight into my car, probably thinking I might be drunk—why else would I ask something so “out of this world”?t

Originally, I applied to become an ASA (Accredited Space Agent—don’t you love when I talk Virgin Galactic-ese?) because my brother loves all things Space. Let me elaborate a bit. I asked the Director of Astronaut Relations what were the physical requirements of the passengers, the future astronauts. My brother lives with Parkinson’s Disease and I wanted to know if he could experience Space aboard Virgin Galactic. That conversation sparked my interest in learning more about VG and the more I learned, the more I wanted to be able to sell their space flights. So, when I had the opportunity to apply to become an ASA, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve proudly represented Virgin Galactic since 2007.

Why do I want to experience Space? I’ve read about and heard astronauts speak about a change that happens within them, a philosophical shift, a feeling of connectedness, of all of us on this planet being on “Spaceship Earth.” When Virgin Galactic’s ship is 67 miles above Earth and passengers can see that thin blue line that separates our planet’s atmosphere from Space, they will experience that moment, that “a-ha” of the necessity of us passengers aboard Spaceship Earth to work together to survive and thrive.

Watch this video and learn how experiencing Space changes people from within. Disclaimer: It may motivate you to reserve a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight:

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

Whoop! Whoop! Virgin Galactic does it AGAIN!

Here’s the video of Virgin Galactic’s 2nd successful rocket powered test flight! Watch! Sigh! Repeat!

Ready to reserve a seat aboard Virgin Galactic and fly into Space? I can help you with that! Contact me, *protected email*.

What I learned from Wiley Post…who???

Wiley Post

I became interested in a guy recently—not romantically, of course! I am hopelessly in love with Michael, my husband! Anyway, I read about the guy and discovered I perhaps made an unwise choice to admire him. Here’s a synopsis of what I learned about him: he was an indfferent student who left school after the 7th grade; he was paroled from a reformatory after serving 14 months of a 10 year sentence for car jacking; he was unable to raise money for his business, a flight school, because of his rural background and limited education.

Who is the guy?  Doesn’t he sound like a loser? As the stereotypical Jewish mom would ask, “So, where did he go to school? Is he a doctor? A lawyer? Jewish? Well, Mom, the answer to the above questions is none of the above. Imagine if I had accidentally mentioned he was an ex-con!

The guy is Wiley Post. ( . In 1931 Post set a record of being the first person to fly a fixed-wing plane around the world in 8 days and 15 hours and 51 minutes. I saw how long it took him and was startled until I realized his flight occurred only 82 years ago! Wow! How quickly we forget how far we’ve come in less than a 100 years! I bet Willard Scott has wished a happy 100th birthday to several people who could vividly recall life before consumer air travel! All the exclamation points I’m using indicate how amazed I am at the speed of inventions, of technology, of the changes that have occurred since the introduction of the computer, the Internet, social media, and mobile phones that have more information stored in them than the computers used to send men into space!

VG test flight

Speaking of Space, you may recall that I am an Accredited Space Agent, able to help you reserve a seat aboard Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital space flights (How could you forget? I feel like I’m constantly talking about it J ). Today I was on a conference call with other ASAs (don’t you love my space-talk acronyms?) and we were briefed on the progress of the test flights, the finish details of Spaceport America, located in New Mexico, and the special event in September that will be held for the future astronauts (over 615 people have reserved flights on Virgin Galactic’s spaceship, including one of my clients). People have asked me when the flight tests will end and the consumer space flights begin. I feel like if I give an exact date, some of the doubters would find me more credible. Yet, today I had the opportunity to experience the reverse skepticism—it took Wiley Post how long to fly around the world?

I hear the talking heads on TV preface a date in the first 10 years of this millennium with the preface of “back in 2010” or “back when Pinterest first started”. Many people don’t even know what Pinterest is! How about those prehistoric days in 2007 when American Idol first premiered? Maybe this blog post makes me sound like a grumpy old lady (definitely not grumpyJ) and yet I am thrilled to be part of the next frontier in consumer travel, flights into Space. So, doubters of technology like 3-D printers, Google Glass, or Virgin Galactic, remember, the Wright Brothers and Wiley post had their skeptics, too. Now, we can’t imagine life without airplanes.

Life really does move a warp speed, doesn’t it?

Virgin Galactic sets date for first blast off!

Virgin Galactic made big news today from Farnborough Air Show outside London. With his mother and his daughter in the audience, Sir Richard Branson shared some exciting developments at Virgin Galactic. Read about it here and watch the newest video released by Virgin Galactic. This is your opportunity to meet some of the VG Team, up close and personal. I’ve met several of them and look forward to spending 3 days with them in October at Spaceport America in New Mexico.


Virgin Galactic Big News: FAA Launch Permit Gives Green Light for Powered Flight

SpaceShipTwo Set to Go for Heavy-Weight Glide Tests with Supersonic Flight Targeted for Year End

MOJAVE, Calif. – (May 29, 2012) Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced
today that its vehicle developer, Scaled Composites (Scaled), has been granted an experimental
launch permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its suborbital spacecraft,
SpaceshipTwo, and the carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo.

“This important milestone enables our team to progress to the rocket-powered phase of test flight,
bringing us a major step closer to bringing our customers to space,” said George Whitesides,
president and CEO of Virgin Galactic. “We thank the FAA for their timely issuance of this permit,
and for their responsible oversight of the test program.”

Already, SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo have made significant progress in their flight test
program. With 80 test flights completed, WhiteKnightTwo is substantially through its test plan,
while the more recently constructed SpaceShipTwo has safely completed sixteen free flights,
including three that tested the vehicle’s unique “feathering” re-entry system. Additionally, ten
test firings of the full scale SpaceShipTwo rocket motor, including full duration burns, have been
safely and successfully completed.

With this permit now in hand, Scaled is now authorized to press onward towards rocket- powered test
flights. In preparation for those powered flights, SpaceShipTwo will soon return to flight, testing
the aerodynamic performance of the spacecraft with the full weight of the rocket motor system on
board. Integration of key rocket motor components, already begun during a now-concluding period of
downtime for routine maintenance, will continue into the autumn. Scaled expects to begin rocket
powered, supersonic flights under the just-issued experimental permit toward the end of the year.

“The Spaceship program is making steady progress, and we are all looking forward to lighting the
vehicle’s rocket engine in flight for the first time,” said Doug Shane, president of Scaled.

Although a handful of experimental launch permits have been granted to other rockets, SpaceShipTwo
is the first rocket-powered vehicle that carries humans on board to receive such a permit.
SpaceShipOne, the manned spaceship successfully flown to space in 2004 and the basis for the design
of SpaceShipTwo, flew before the Experimental Permit regulatory regime was established.

The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation issues permits after it has determined
that the vehicle operator has taken the appropriate steps to protect the public during testing.
Permitees must submit detailed plans for vehicle design and operation in order to ensure that all
possible scenarios have been addressed.