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Fri 3 Oct 2008 01:35 PM

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Virgin Galactic to monitor environment from space

Space travel group to use its spaceships for research into climate, environmental change.

Virgin Galactic to monitor environment from space
SPACE TRAVEL: Virgin Galactic is set to use its spaceships for research into climate and environmental change. (Supplied)

Virgin Galactic is set to use its spaceships for research into climate and environmental change, the space travel group has revealed.

In a deal with environmental monitory group, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the pair will use Virgin’s space vehicles for climate science studies, according to a statement from Virgin Galactic. “NOAA and Virgin Galactic intend to explore a possible collaboration that ultimately would fly NOAA science instruments onboard the Virgin Galactic carrier vehicle and SpaceShipTwo.

“The first of these instruments would provide data on atmospheric composition, particularly CO2 and other greenhouse gases, that will increase understanding of important global climate science,” the statement said.

Conrad Lautenbacher, NOAA administrator, said the group needed data and observations to understand how climate is changing.

"This (agreement) affords us a new and unique opportunity to gather samples and measurements at much higher altitudes that we can usually achieve."

Tickets for a trip to space carry a price tag of $200,000 per ticket and in April a Dubai-based Arab company became the first ever in the world to charter a space craft for its top management.

The company handed over $500,000 as a deposit to Virgin Galactic, to charter one of the company’s commercial spacecrafts.

Virgin Galactic’s space flights are expected to commence at the end of 2009, and the company has already sold more than 200 tickets globally, representing over $30 million in deposits.

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