Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., a renowned spaceflight company, has recently inked a deal with NASA to develop a program that will help conduct private missions to the International Space Station (ISS). According to a statement, Virgin Galactic said that the program will include training of private astronauts for travel to ISS, and supporting them using space station resources for future missions.
The space tourism firm will identify candidates interested in purchasing tickets for private transportation to space in orbital-grade vehicles from other companies. Virgin Galactic currently competes with firms like Amazon.com Inc.’s Blue Origin that is seeking to thrive in a new era of space tourism and become the first to provide sub-orbital flights to tourists.
Currently, Virgin Galactic offers customers the experience of zero-gravity with its centerpiece SpaceShipTwo plane and has point-to-point travel plans for quick transportation of passengers from city to city at near-space altitudes.
Sources claim that the recently signed deal comes as a second agreement between the spaceflight company and NASA. In May, the two parties had entered into an agreement to develop ‘high-Mach’ aircraft for civilian passengers.
Speaking on the deal, George Whitesides, CEO, Virgin Galactic, said that their firm is thrilled to partner with NASA on the private orbital spaceflight program, which will allow them to use their spaceflight platform as well as offer its space training infrastructure to NASA and similar agencies.
He added that across a wide range of destinations and programs, NASA is catalyzing innovation and is leading the way towards a positive stride in space.
Apart from the recent deal, Virgin Galactic has also been leaning heavily on private firms to develop a similar interest and visions in space exploration, as the company gears up for a long-term foothold on the moon and prepares to launch manned missions to Mars.
Source credit : https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/virgin-galactic-nasa-to-develop-program-for-private-missions-to-space-station-4#:~:text=Virgin%20Galactic%2C%20NASA%20to%20develop%20program%20for%20private%20missions%20to%20space%20station,-Reuters&text=Billionaire%20Richard%20Branson's%20Virgin%20Galactic,the%20company%20up%20about%2016%25.