Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic jet design

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Virgin Galactic this week unveiled the design of its supersonic jet, which it promises will “open up a new frontier in high-speed travel.” (Virgin Galactic)
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Virgin Galactic this week unveiled the design of its supersonic jet, which it promises will “open up a new frontier in high-speed travel.” (Virgin Galactic)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic jet design

  • The aircraft is capable of carrying 19 passengers while traveling at three times the speed of sound at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet

LONDON: Virgin Galactic this week unveiled the design of its supersonic jet, which it promises will “open up a new frontier in high-speed travel.”

The aircraft, capable of carrying 19 passengers while traveling at three times the speed of sound at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet, will be designed and developed in partnership with Rolls-Royce.

“We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high-speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivaled customer experience,” said George Whitesides, chief space officer at Virgin Galactic.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start.

“We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel,” he added.

Richard Branson, the company’s founder, could travel into space as the first passenger as early as next year, Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

The spaceflight venture has repeatedly pushed back the date it will take the first tourists outside Earth’s atmosphere and said 600 people have already paid $250,000 to reserve a seat.

Virgin Galactic said on Monday it “expects to advance to the next phase of its test flight program” in the autumn, with two manned flights.

“Assuming both flights demonstrate the expected results, Virgin Galactic anticipates Sir Richard Branson’s flight to occur in the first quarter of 2021,” the company said.

The groundbreaking flight by Branson would pave the way for future commercial space journeys, Virgin Galactic said.


Jameela Jamil to guest star in ‘Red Table Talk’

Updated 19 October 2020

Jameela Jamil to guest star in ‘Red Table Talk’

DUBAI: British actress Jameela Jamil took to social media this week to tease her appearance in an upcoming episode of “Red Table Talk,” Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook talk show series.

According to Jamil, who is of Pakistani and Indian descent, she will talk about being “an honest, open and rebellious feminist-in-progress” during the American web television show.

“Coming soon. My cup runneth over. I got to sit at the holy red table about what it’s like to be an honest, open and rebellious feminist-in-progress. Obsessed with these powerful, present and amazing women,” she wrote to her 3.3 million Instagram followers, alongside a photo of herself with the Pinkett-Smith family, including Jada’s daughter with husband Will Smith, Willow, as well as her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones. 

Naturally, Jamil’s friends couldn’t contain their excitement about the upcoming episode, taking to the comment section to share their anticipation. 

“SO COOL,” wrote singer and actress Demi Lovato. 

Plus-size blogger CeCe Olisa commented: “This is going to be good.”

Indeed, not one to hold back, Jamil is known for unapologetically speaking her mind and weigh in on the important issues facing women today, even if it affects her career. “I just cannot stay silent any more, I can’t. I don’t care if I’m going down – I’m going down in flames. I’m fine to not work in this industry. But I’m not fine to not say something,” she told The Guardian in a past interview.

The 34-year-old, who is the founder of the I Weigh movement that focuses on self-worth and body positivity beyond the scale, routinely takes to her social media accounts to talk about issues of body positivity and the #MeToo movement.

She’s been open about her own personal struggles with body image, such as an eating disorder she grappled with in her teens.

Additionally, the actress, who is known for playing Tahani Al-Jamil in sitcom “The Good Place,” is also known for telling wild stories. 

“Red Table Talk” premiered on May 7, 2018, on Facebook Watch. Previous guests on the online show include US comedian Tiffany Haddish, singer Toni Braxton, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo and US singer Ciara, among many others.