Virgin Galactic Strikes Deal With NASA to Work on Supersonic Rocket Travel

Virgin Galactic says it's signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to collaborate on the development of supersonic vehicles for civil applications.

The agreement also involves The Spaceship Company, a Virgin Galactic subsidiary that manufactures the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane and its WhiteKnightTwo mothership. The SpaceShipTwo model known as VSS Unity has already flown to the 50-mile-high edge of space twicein California, and this week it conducted its first gliding flight test at Spaceport America, its new home in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has long said he plans to make use of SpaceShipTwo technology for high-speed, point-to-point travel between destinations on Earth. That application is a big reason why Boeing has invested $20 million in Virgin Galactic.

Also today, Virgin Galactic Holdings reported its first-quarter financial results, including a net loss of $60 million, revenue of $238,000 from engineering services, and a "strong cash position" with $419 million on hand. Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said more than 400 refundable "One Small Step" deposits have been received from people in 44 countries who are interested in SpaceShipTwo flights. That's in addition to the 600 customers who already have signed up and paid up to $250,000 for a ticket to ride.

SpaceShipTwo Unity Completes First Flight From Spaceport America

This post originally appeared on GeekWire. Love space and science? Sign up for GeekWire's Space & Science email newsletter.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station today, becoming the first company to send humans to orbit on a commercial spaceship.

The Falcon 9 rocket's liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:22 p.m. ET (12:22 p.m. PT) marked a feat that America hadn't been able to perform since NASA retired its space shuttles in 2011: launching American astronauts on an American rocket from American soil.

Read more Show less

Lots happened in the L.A. tech and startup community this week. In a rundown of the top headlines, Chief Host and Correspondent Kelly O'Grady takes you through the key stories:

  • President Trump's Executive Social Media Order Could Mean Trouble for Snap, TikTok
  • Startups: Furniture Rental Servie Fernish Raises $10M Series A, Bird Could Thrive Post-COVID
  • Media: HBO Max Launches, Esports Giant FaZe Clan Plans Expansion
  • dot.LA Convenes -- Challenges Women Face with Confidence in a Virtual World
Read more Show less

Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.


  • Facing twin threats, TrueCar lays off 40 percent of staff
  • Netflix buys Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre to stage post-pandemic events, movie premieres

Read more Show less