Technology Boeing to invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic's Spaceport America is no longer an empty hangar
Virgin Galactic has officially opened Spaceport America's "Gateway to Space" building few months after it started moving its staff and spacecraft to the New Mexico facility. In addition, the VMS Eve has arrived at the spaceport this week, which Chief Pilot Dave Mackay says brings "Virgin Galactic closer to starting commercial service." VMS Eve is the aerospace company's launch vehicle, in charge of carrying its spacecraft to the skies before dropping it mid-air.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Boeing plans to invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic, looking at possibilities beyond the space tourism company's immediate goal of launching passengers on suborbital flights as early as next year.
The companies announced the investment Tuesday, saying they will work together on broadening commercial access to space and transforming global travel technologies.
American Air Pulls 737 Max From Schedule Through Early December
American Airlines Group Inc. is removing the Boeing Co. 737 Max from its schedule for another month, forcing the cancellation of 140 daily flights through Dec. 3, as the carrier awaits U.S. regulatory approval to operate the grounded plane. The airline “remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 Max, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to re-certification of the aircraft this year,” American said in a statement Sunday. American announced its decision two days after United Airlines Holdings Inc. pulled the Max from flight plans until Dec. 19.
The sum is a fraction of the $1 billion Virgin Galactic says it has invested in its program, but Boeing called it a strategic investment rather than about a specific craft that would enable high-speed, point-to-point transportation around the world.
"It's really about catalyzing the partnership first and foremost between two companies that bring incredible complementary capabilities to commercial space and to the key technologies needed — and frankly beyond just technologies. The whole end-to-end solutions to bring high speed mobility to the masses," said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures.
Schettler said that with Boeing nearing flight of its Starliner astronaut crew capsule and Virgin Galactic on the cusp of commercial operations, the companies are at an "inflection point."
Boeing crash victims' families to receive up to $145,000 each
Airline maker has started accepting financial claims for people killed in two crashes that killed a total of 346Boeing is providing money for the fund, which works out to nearly $145,000 for each of the 346 people who died in crashes in Indonesia in October and in Ethiopia in March. Dozens of families are suing the company, with families of about 60 victims yet to file, according to Reuters.
"It just seemed like from a tech maturity (standpoint), from an opportunity to start driving the next phase of all this, it seemed to make sense," he said of the investment.
The collaboration won't lead to Virgin Galactic's current craft, a design called SpaceShipTwo, being flown across oceans, but significant lessons are expected from flying people aboard a highly reusable airframe at three times the speed of sound with rapid turnaround times, said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides.
Virgin Galactic has conducted successful test flights of its winged rocket ship at Mojave, California, and is preparing to begin operating at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Test flights will be conducted there before passenger flights begin.
Virgin Galactic has not announced a specific date for beginning commercial flights but Whitesides said the company is projecting that by mid-2020.
Virgin Galactic announced in July it intends to go public through a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp.
Boeing's investment is in return for shares, so it is contingent on that transaction closing.
Blue Origin's space rocket will be ready for riders next year, but tickets are seriously expensive .
Jeff Bezos' rocket will take tourists to the boundary of space."We were planning on this year; unfortunately, it's very unlikely we're going to get in this year. We need a few more flights to make sure that we're all comfortable with the verification," Smith told CNBC. "We hold ourselves to very, very high standards here, we're never going to fly until we're absolutely ready. I think we have a very, very good amount of confidence around the system itself, I think it is working very, very well. But we have to go look at all the analysis, and then convince ourselves that we're ready to go. ... So it probably will be next year.
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