Will Whitehorn has plans for the future with Virgin Galactic over the next 20 years. Plans that include such things as space science, computer server farms and replacing long-haul flights.
Virigin Galactic has collected $40 million in deposts from future space tourists including such notible people as physicist Stephen Hawking. VG is planning to begin its commercial space trips within the next two years. Mr. Whitehorn told reporters that they have bookings from over 300 people that are willing to pay $200,000 for each space flight.
Right now, Virgin is still running test flights and is hoping to win a license form the Federal Aviation Administration. "We needed to know we had a sound business plan," Will Whitehorn told FIPP World Magazine Congress, where he was invited to attend.
Whitehorn also went into how "green" their business plan is by launching their spacecraft from a jet carrier aircraft over more conventional gorund-launch rocket technology. Plus the non-metallic materials from which the SpaceShipTwo and its carrier aircraft are made from are lighter, and require less power than NASA's space shuttle.
Virgin is not the only non-government party trying to get in on the space travel industry. Such companies as SpaceX lead by Elon Musk, are developing their own space-launch vehicles. some of which might one day be man-rated.
But other plans for Virgin Galactic is also planning to add to their business plans for orbital computer server farms. Long-haul transportation flights (i.e. London to Sydney in two and a half hours). Transporting crews up to the space station and launching satellites.
Ref. Reuters, London. by Georgina Prodhan posted May 7, 2009. (http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE54639Q20090507).