Over the weekend, with the large grin of Richard Branson to see it off, Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, completed its first free flight over the Mojave Desert.
Late next year, if all goes to plan, SpaceX and Boeing will begin sending American astronauts up to the International Space Station, ending Russia’s monopoly on the ticket to orbit. In anticipation of the new space taxis, NASA is now building its commercial partners a parking spot.
Reusable rockets just went from a party trick to a research necessity. Have a rocket you can launch, land safely and launch again? NASA wants you, now.