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Virgin Galactic to collaborate with NASA to develop high-Mach technologies

Stephen Kuper

Virgin Galactic and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Spaceship Company, have announced the signing of a Space Act Agreement with NASA to facilitate the development of high-speed, point-to-point technologies.

Virgin Galactic to collaborate with NASA to develop high-Mach technologies
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The Space Act Agreement is set to enable and foster collaboration between NASA, Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company in order to advance the US’ efforts to produce technically feasible, high-Mach vehicles for potential civil applications.

Virgin Galactic believes that it is able to leverage its robust platform of advanced technologies, significant vertically integrated design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and thousands of hours of flight testing to develop additional aerospace applications.

Together with its industry partners, Virgin Galactic is seeking to develop a vehicle for the next-generation of safe and efficient high-speed air travel, with a focus on customer experience and environmental responsibility.

George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic Holdings, explained, “This is the beginning of an important partnership for Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company that will support the future development of aviation technology."

In partnership with NASA, Virgin Galactic believes there are significant opportunities to apply higher speeds to drive technological development to allow industries to adapt to the changing economic and ecological environment. The collaboration will aim to inform the development of national strategies using economic and technical foundations with a focus on sustainability.

"Virgin Galactic’s unique experience and innovative technology platform will, in partnership with the historic 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,” Whitesides said. 

Dr James Kenyon, director of the NASA Aeronautics Advanced Air Vehicles Program, added, “This Space Act Agreement will enable NASA to collaborate with Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company to allow our organisations to take advantage of new tools, techniques, and technologies developed over the last 50 years and to explore potential new solutions for the commercial aviation industry.”

Virgin Galactic is a vertically-integrated aerospace company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers, as well as a manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles.

Using its proprietary and reusable technologies and supported by a distinctive, Virgin-branded customer experience, it is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day, transformative experience.

This culminates in a spaceflight that includes views of Earth from space and several minutes of weightlessness that will launch from Spaceport America, New Mexico.

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