Virgin Hyperloop selects West Virginia as the future home of its new high-tech certification center

Virgin Hyperloop is investing $500 million to build what could one day be the future of high-speed transportation.



A rendering of a Virgin Hyperloop One Cargospeed station.


© Virgin
A rendering of a Virgin Hyperloop One Cargospeed station.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice held a news conference on Friday along with Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson to announce a partnership to bring the Virgin Hyperloop Certification Center to Tucker County in West Virginia.

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Hyperloop is a theoretical transportation system originally proposed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The idea was to create a high-speed transportation system to send a podlike capsule levitating along a rail inside a low-pressure tube at speeds of more than 600 miles per hour.

The proposal sparked a wave of companies and innovators working to make this technology a reality, with Virgin Hyperloop being one of the biggest investors. A fully functional hyperloop system is still a long way from coming

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ExoTerra to develop upper stage for Virgin Orbit LauncherOne

SAN FRANCISCO – Colorado startup ExoTerra Resources announced a NASA Small Business Innovative Research contract Oct. 5 to develop a solar electric upper stage to boost small satellites traveling on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne beyond low Earth orbit.

With ExoTerra’s Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage, LauncherOne customers could reach destinations including geostationary orbit, trans-lunar injection orbit, Earth-Moon Lagrange points and low lunar orbit, according to the ExoTerra news release.

“This win allows ExoTerra to begin development of an upper stage that will deliver up to 150 kilograms of payload to the moon,” according to the news release. The upper stage also could transport 180-kilogram payloads to geostationary orbit, the release added.

Virgin Orbit announced plans in 2019 to send small satellites to Mars in 2022 for Polish satellite manufacturer SatRevolution.

“That announcement definitely has attracted the interest of many others in the growing aerospace community,” a Virgin Orbit spokesman said by

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How SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and others compete in the growing space tourism market

There’s an emerging industry thought to be only science fiction not too long ago that’s close to becoming a reality: space tourism. 

Space tourism is for the ultra rich, so why are Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Blue Origin betting on it?

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And a handful of companies – including one publicly traded name – are competing neck and neck to be leaders in the emerging market.

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But what space tourism entails, and how much it costs per person, varies greatly depending on a company’s technological capabilities.  For example, both Virgin Galactic and SpaceX expect to fly private paying passengers to space next year. But, while passengers flying with both companies would go to space by the Federal Aviation Administration’s definition, a Virgin Galactic passenger spends about 0.04% as much time in space as on a SpaceX trip, while a ride with Elon Musk’s company

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