Your dreams of affordable spaceflight have come one step closer to reality.
Born of a merger between Virgin Galactic and engineering firm Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company has a straightfoward motto: "We build spaceships." To this end, the company has now announced the completion of its first commercial spaceship factory. The FAITH (Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar) spaceship factory cost $8 million to build and is part of the Mojave Air and Space Port, which is still under construction.
Having successfully tested the "feathered flight" techniques used by the inventively-named SpaceShipTwo earlier this year, Virgin Galactic is confident that it'll be able to use the craft to send tourists into suborbit as early as next year. The ships can carry two pilots and up to six people, and apparently feature many windows to ensure that customers get the best view possible while they're brushing against space.
Sadly, even though the brochure looks amazing, we are still talking about space travel here. For that reason, excursions are still depressingly expensive; a suborbital trip in a SpaceShipTwo will cost around $200,000. But who knows? Maybe the invisible hands of consumer capitalism will weave their magic throughout FAITH and lower spaceship manufacturing costs to the point where space tourism will become an option for the masses. NASA would probably be happy about it too. A girl can dream, right?