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The WIRED Guide to Commercial Human Space Flight

WIRED

On the morning of December 13, 2018, the Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo wheeled down a stark runway in Mojave, California, ready to take off. Whining like a regular passenger jet, the twin-hulled catamaran of an airplane passed by owner Richard Branson, who stood clapping in an aviator jacket on the pavement. But WhiteKnightTwo wasn't just any plane: Hooked between the two hulls was a space plane called SpaceShipTwo, set to be the first private craft to regularly carry tourists away from this planet. WhiteKnightTwo rumbled along and lifted off, getting ready to climb to an altitude of 50,000 feet. From that height, the jet would release SpaceShipTwo; its two pilots would fire the engines and boost the craft into space. "3 … 2 … 1 …" came the words over the radio. SpaceShipTwo dropped like a sleek stone, free. "Fire, fire," said a controller.


The final frontier? Firms to develop cosmetics for use in outer space by 2023

The Japan Times

ANA Holdings Inc. has launched a joint project with cosmetics manufacturer Pola Orbis Holdings Inc. to develop the world's first-ever space-friendly cosmetics line by 2023. With both companies holding high hopes for the rapidly developing field of space travel, they said the project, dubbed CosmoSkin, aims to create cosmetics that feel comfortable on the skin even in the extremely dry and zero gravity conditions of space. ANA will provide aircraft, which can best simulate humidity levels and other conditions aboard a spacecraft, to carry out experiments to develop the products. "This partnership with Pola Orbis group is a step in a bold new direction as we seek to bring the comfort and convenience of ANA beyond Earth and into the final frontier," the airline operator said in a press release. Naoko Yamazaki, a former astronaut and the second Japanese woman to go to space, and Yusuke Murakami, a field architect researching extreme living environments, were guests for an online news conference held Sept. 11 to announce the project's launch. The collaboration comes at a time when the reality of commercial space tourism is on the horizon.


Southern rail strike: 'It's affected not just me, but my family too"

BBC News

Phil Horton, a teacher living in Caterham, Surrey, has recorded a video of his challenging journey to work as striking train drivers bring the Southern network to a halt. About 300,000 passengers usually travel on Southern services every weekday and people are being warned not to travel.


7 ways AI will revolutionize business travel

#artificialintelligence

In April, United Airlines hit a huge pocket of public relations turbulence after a passenger was forcibly removed from one of its partners' airplanes. The incident raised questions about blindly following procedures, passenger rights, and United's executive leadership. From chatbots to robotic bellhops, here are seven ways AI could impact business travel in the months, and years, ahead. On April 9, 2017, a paying passenger was dragged off United Express Flight 3411, from Chicago to Louisville, Ky. Four seats on the full flight were needed to accommodate airline crew members, as USA Today and others reported.


Boom believes the future of jet travel is supersonic

Mashable

Jet startup Boom believes the future is supersonic, and it's now got enough money to prove it. The company announced on Thursday that it raised $33 million for its first major round of funding, enough for the company to build a demonstrator of its XB-1 supersonic aircraft. Boom first emerged in 2016 with grand plans to create supersonic passenger jets that could reach 1,450 miles per hour. The company hopes to test its XB-1 demonstrator in 2017, with commercial flights still a few years away. That aircraft will be one-third the size of the passenger aircraft that Boom hopes to eventually build.