A future area of cooperation could include THE flight of NASA astronauts on SpaceShipTwo. On March 2, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that the agency would make an effort to certify commercial suborbital vehicles, such as SpaceShipTwo, so that astronauts could send them for training or research. In a June 19 tweet, Bridenstine said a request for information to support these efforts would be published within a week. Instead, the company would work with Boeing and SpaceX, companies that develop useful crew vehicles to gain access to the ISS. Both companies expressed interest in cooperating with third parties rather than selling seats directly to individuals. SpaceX has already sold commercial flights from its Crew Dragon spacecraft to Axiom Space for a mission to the station and Space Adventures for a autonomous mission in a higher orbit than the station. Space Adventures had previously announced plans to partner with Boeing to commercially commercial Starliner flights. Virgin Galactic`s new space agreement „also serves as a scout for the NATIONAL ISS laboratory,“ according to the statement, demonstrating NASA`s growing participation in commercial space, particularly with regard to the space station. Virgin Galactic has already developed a custom astronaut program for its customers flying from Spaceport America to New Mexico. Virgin Galactic`s space experiments could play an important role in the formation of orbital travel and allow passengers to familiarize themselves with the space environment such as G and Zero-G forces.
Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic`s birthplace, is used for parts of the training program using the astronauts` private training facilities. Virgin Galactic has signed a space agreement with NASA to facilitate the development of high-speed point-to-point technologies focused on customer experience and environmental responsibility. Virgin Galactics main business is to fly amateur astronauts to the edge of the Earth`s atmosphere, up to 55 miles above ground, in its suprasonic space plane VSS Unity, for $250,000 per seat. The suborbital spacecraft is in its final phase of testing and the first passenger, perhaps Richard Branson himself, is expected to fly as early as this year. Virgin Galactics` main competitor on commercial suborbital flights, Blue Origin, is also building major projects for NASA, including a lunar landing vehicle. The space exploration startup, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has signed three NASA contracts as part of the agency`s mission to bring people back to the moon by 2024. This Space Act agreement between NASA and Virgin Galactic is not the first agreement between the two organizations. Virgin Galactic has signed a contract with NASA`s Flight Opportunities program to carry research loads on SpaceShipTwo flights. The company has several other space law agreements to support research and development, including one that was announced on May 5 to support its work on future high-speed transportation systems. NASA is also in the process of reviewing its marketing strategy. Doug Loverro, then an associate director for exploration and human operations, said in April that he planned to create a single organization within his management that handled all business activities, including their commercial freight and occupancy programs, to better manage them.
However, the reorganization appears to be on hold after Loverro abruptly left the agency last month following rumors of violations of the agency`s lunar landing program procurement rules. „We want to bring the global perspective to thousands of people,“ Whitesides said. Virgin Galactic found that NASA`s program is not limited to recreation, but serves as a „Scout for the ISS National Laboratory, demonstrating the commercial sector`s additional participation in human space and allowing commercial participants to conduct research and other commercial activities aboard the ISS.“ As part of the agreement, Virgin Galactic`s mission is to find customers interested in a flight to the ISS, to arrange ground and space transport