NEW YORK, March 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The frontrunner and innovator of space tourism, Virgin Galactic, and leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso®, continue to surge ahead in the development of space travel. With an exclusive relationship in the Americas seeking out would-be space travelers and accepting deposits for future suborbital flights, Virtuoso's 'Accredited Space Agents' (ASAs) have already surpassed the incredible accomplishment of $10 million in space sales. Along with continued deposits for the program, significant milestones in 2010 support the evidence that the dream of private space travel is becoming a reality.
"Each new milestone that Virgin Galactic crosses gets us one step closer to space travel," said Virtuoso CEO and Virgin Galactic 'Founder' Passenger, Matthew D. Upchurch, CTC. "Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy promised the world that the United States would go to the moon before the end of that decade – which we did – it is astounding to see the progress the private sector has made with commercial space travel. Virtuoso's Accredited Space Agents have done an amazing job building excitement among their clientele and the travel community, and Virgin Galactic delivers on every promise they put forth. Travel to space for every adventurer will soon be at our fingertips."
After the dramatic unveiling of SpaceShipTwo in December 2009, the revolutionary space vehicle embarked on a series of important test flights in 2010 that culminated with the first solo flight when the spaceship was released from her 'mothership' WhiteKnightTwo and completed a stunning glide flight and landing at Mojave Air & Spaceport. Since then, the aircraft has completed a total of four glide flights. Glide flights will continue throughout 2011, as SpaceShipTwo is readied for the next major milestone, the first powered flight with a highly specialized rocket motor.
In 2010 the rocket motor, known as RocketMotorTwo, underwent extensive development and testing. Next up for the rocket motor is more ground based 'hot fire' testing that will take place during the coming months before pairing RocketMotorTwo with SpaceShipTwo for several non-powered test flights. Continuing through the testing process, SpaceShipTwo will then complete multiple powered flights, gradually increasing duration and altitude in the lead up to her first-ever spaceflight.
In addition to the progression on rockets and spaceships, 2010 saw significant development to Virgin Galactic's operational base, Spaceport America, in New Mexico. The base's runway was completed along with 70 percent of the structures including the Terminal Hangar Facility (THF), which will serve as the hangar and training facility for Virgin Galactic as well as housing Mission Control. Completion of the THF building is expected later this year when the fit out of the interior will commence.
For more information on Virtuoso's ASA program or Virgin Galactic's Three-Day Flight Experience, call 866-401-7974 or visit www.virtuoso.com.
Virtuoso® is the industry's leading luxury travel network. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 300 agencies with more than 6,000 elite travel specialists in 22 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as over 1,000 of the world's best travel providers and premier destinations. The network's member agencies generate over $5.1 billion annually in travel sales, making the group the most powerful in the luxury travel segment. Their relationships with the finest travel companies provide the network's affluent clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. Virtuoso is the exclusive network of travel services and benefits provided by MasterCard® for participating World Elite MasterCard® programs.
To see Virtuoso's latest video content, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/VirtuosoTraveler.