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Virgin Galactic, Branson's space venture


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55 minutes ago, Brotoro said:

Did they have to dump propellant before landing, or can SoaceShipTwo land with a full load of prop on board?

It's a hybrid engine.

Solid fuel, with oxidizer. They might have vented the nitrous oxide.

Edited by tater
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1 minute ago, GuessingEveryDay said:

Doesn't ULA count though?

ULA is a conglomerate formed from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. I don't believe it's a commercial company as it basically operates off government contracts.

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2 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

ULA is a conglomerate formed from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. I don't believe it's a commercial company as it basically operates off government contracts.

True. But wouldn't that mean was the first company to make it to orbit though? Or are we defining commercial as building a rocket, and sending it into orbit by itself.

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4 minutes ago, GuessingEveryDay said:

True. But wouldn't that mean was the first company to make it to orbit though? Or are we defining commercial as building a rocket, and sending it into orbit by itself.

Honestly I don't really know. But given that their business is entirely government contracts, I wouldn't put ULA in the same category as SpaceX, Rocket Lab or Virgin Orbit.

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After all, at one point ULA was getting IIRC $800M or more per year from the government just to keep the lights on at two rocket production lines (Atlas V and Delta IV), to ensure access to space if one rocket had a failure. The government  was the only customer for these rockets because the cost was so high. 

While SpaceX did receive government help to get up and running, i don’t think it received such caretaker funding. In fact, it gave the government another option so that Boeing’s DIV can be retired, eliminating the need for such funding. 

It seems SLS did not learn the lesson that the hassle of LH2 boosters is not worth the ISP, but I digress. 

I certwiuldnt consider ULA a commercial launch provider if only because they don’t do commercial launches, just government. 

Edited by StrandedonEarth
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