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Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Agent
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Accredited Space Agent Janie Bullard among the select guests who attended the World Debut of SpaceShipTwo (SS2)
Atlanta / Powder Springs’s own Janie Bullard from Distinctive Journeys, a member of Virtuoso®, witnessed the unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial manned spaceship SpaceShip
MOJAVE AIR & SPACE PORT, CA (December 10, 2009) – JANIE BULLARD from DISTINCTIVE JOURNEYS a member of leading luxury travel network Virtuoso®, joined Virgin CEO and Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, on December 7, 2009, for the reveal of SS2. This was the first unveiling to the public since construction of the world’s first manned commercial spaceship began in 2007. SS2 has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space after test programming and all required U.S. government licensing and regulatory approvals have been completed.
As the official sales channel for Virgin Galactic throughout the Americas, Virtuoso® and select members of this leading luxury travel network were present for the unveiling event. The organization’s CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, who is also a “Founder” passenger with Virgin Galactic, headed the Virtuoso group attending the event. JANIE BULLARD is one of only 74 Virtuoso member travel advisors chosen to train and become an Accredited Space Agent (ASA).
The unveiling represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic’s quest to develop the world’s first commercial space line providing private sector access to space. The spaceship draws on the experience developed during the successful flights of SS1 in 2004, which won the Ansari X-Prize for completing the world’s first manned private space flights. SpaceShipTwo will undergo an extensive test flying program to commence shortly, and it is capable of carrying up to six passenger astronauts and up to two pilot astronauts into space on a suborbital flight, subject to applicable regulatory approvals.
Matthew D. Upchurch eagerly anticipated the day, having the dual role of “Founder” passenger, meaning he will be aboard one of the first 14 flights, as well as CEO of the organization hand-selected by Virgin Galactic to accept deposits for future flights of the spaceship from potential future passengers exclusively throughout the Americas.
Remarked Upchurch, “The unveiling of SS2 marks one of the most exhilarating advancements in the tourism industry, especially for those who value travel for its ability to provide a new perspective on the world, a detachment from the ordinary, as well as the ability to create lifelong memories and growth as a human being. Both as a ‘Founder’ and the CEO of Virtuoso, I am honoured to have a role in this historical event, and proud of our members who have been selected by Virgin Galactic to represent this unique product. These Accredited Space Agents, like Janie Bullard, have the ability to help pioneer an industry, while bringing this life-changing experience to their clients.”
“It was a thrilling experience to be part of history and to be one of the few to witness the unveiling of Space Ship Two! I am honoured to be one of the few Virtuoso Accredited Space Agents in the US!” – Janie Bullard
The unveiling took place at Mojave Air & Space Port as darkness fell on the famous aviation and spaceflight location. SS2 was attached to her WK2 mothership, unveiled last year and named EVE after Sir Richard Branson’s mother. In the future, WK2 will carry SS2 to above 50,000 feet (10 miles) before the spaceship is dropped and fires her rocket motor to go into space from that altitude. In honour of a long tradition of using the word Enterprise in the naming of Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, NASA vehicles and even science fiction spacecraft, Governor Schwarzenegger of California and Governor Richardson of New Mexico christened SS2 with the name Virgin Space Ship (VSS) ENTERPRISE. This represents not only an acknowledgement of that name’s honorable past, but also looks to the future of the role of private enterprise in the future exploration of space.
Commenting on the unveiling, Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic said: “This is truly a momentous day. The team has created not only a world first but also a work of art. The unveil of SS2 takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this ambitious project is not only moving rapidly, but also making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation.”
Burt Rutan, Founder of Scaled Composites added: “All of us at Scaled are tremendously excited by the capabilities of both the mothership and SS2. Today is the culmination of a dream that began many decades ago, was stimulated by Paul Allen’s funding of
our X-Prize winning SS1 and then moved forward to commercial reality by Sir Richard and Virgin’s visionary investment in a new future for space transportation.”
SpaceShipTwo was unveiled after darkness fell over the Mojave Desert, to the sound of a space-themed anthem from Britain’s biggest DJs, Above & Beyond. Following the naming by Governors Richardson and Schwarzenegger, the DJs also performed an exclusive set at the celebration cocktail party which featured the first ever IceBar in the desert, hosted by Absolut and the world-famous Swedish IceHotel. All the guests were protected from the desert cold by designer space jackets supplied by PUMA.
Janie Bullard • Owner, Travel Advisor •Distinctive Journeys
Janie@Distinctive-Journeys.com • 770-888-6677 • 888-419-6677