|Southampton, PA: December 5, 2007 -Environmental Tectonics Corporation (AMEX:ETC) ("ETC" or the "Company") today announced that Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, successfully completed a space flight training course today at the NASTAR Center, which is the National Aerospace Training and Research Center. He undertook this training in preparation for a flight aboard SpaceShipTwo, the suborbital vehicle his company Virgin Galactic is developing along with Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites.
The test flying program for SpaceShipTwo and its launch aircraft WhiteKnightTwo is expected to begin in the summer of 2008, with SpaceShipTwo likely to make its first flight into space in the following year. Commercial operations are expected to begin from Spaceport America, in New Mexico, once all test flying is successfully completed and the FAA has issued a license to fly.
Commenting on the NASTAR Center space flight training, Sir Richard said, "It was an amazing experience. Due to the flight simulation combined with the G forces created by the STS-400 centrifuge, I really felt like I was launching into space. I am glad many of the Founder astronauts got to do this, because it really does get us all prepared and excited about the real thing, and alleviates a lot of the apprehension people naturally have about whether they can handle a space launch or not. Now I know that I and the Founders can concentrate on the primary features of a Virgin Galactic space flight, which are the magnificent view of Earth and the weightless experience."
Several other participants from Virgin Galactic trained along with Branson, including his son Sam; Will Whitehorn, Virgin Galactic President; Alan Watts, who earned a flight aboard SpaceShipTwo through cashing in his Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer "Flying Club" miles; and Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who created the concept of Gaia Theory, that the biosphere of Planet Earth constitutes one great living entity. His groundbreaking work has laid the foundations of much modern climate change theory. All of them successfully completed the training.
Training at the NASTAR Center is an integral part of Virgin Galactic's spaceflight program, because during a flight, passengers will experience the same physiological stresses as professional astronauts, including elevated, sustained Gs. Gs are a multiple of the normal effect of gravity on the human body. For example, 3.5 Gs is 3 and a half times the normal weight a person feels while at rest on Earth, and is the force SpaceShipTwo passengers will feel on launch. They will experience 6 Gs on reentry.
Through training at the NASTAR Center space flight participants become accustomed to these stresses and realize that for most people these effects, while intense, are survivable and even enjoyable. Dick Leland, President of the NASTAR Center, commented, "This training is as much about creating stored mental sets and about anxiety reduction as it is about physiological training. By coming to NASTAR Center, you can practice what you will feel on the actual launch, so when that day comes, you can say to yourself, 'Hey, I've experienced this before, and I did just fine. I think I'll look out the window and enjoy my ride.' "
About 60 of the first 100 Virgin Galactic spaceflight customers, known as Founders, have gone through the 2-day NASTAR Center space flight training course. All of them found the experience worthwhile, and several laughed or whooped during their space launch simulation. The founders expressed many enthusiastic comments about their training, such as "Absolutely fantastic"; "Loved it. Loved it. Loved it." "Wow! I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world! Very Cool." "A wickedly realistic experience"; and, "NASTAR Center is the Best."
William F. Mitchell, ETC's President and Chairman, commented, "We are proud to have the opportunity to train Sir Richard and the other Galactic personnel and customers for their space flights. This is the beginning of a new era in space activities. The NASTAR Center intends to be an important part of creating the private space industry in the coming years, a time in which personal spaceflight will play an increasing role and manned flight will continue to evolve."
About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic (www.virgingalactic.com) is a company owned and established by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group to undertake the challenge of making private space travel available to everyone by creating the world's first commercial spaceline. Virgin will own and operate privately built spaceships based on the history-making SpaceShipOne. These environmentally benign spaceships, which are currently under construction, will allow affordable private sub-orbital space travel for the first time in history and give customers the opportunity of being amongst the very first private astronauts. The company also has long-term ambitions to develop the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo systems for low Earth satellite deployment, payload and other scientific applications.
About NASTAR Center
NASTAR Center (www.nastarcenter.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Environmental Tectonics Corporation, houses state-of-the-art equipment and professional staff to support the training and research needs of the aerospace community, including military aviation (fixed and rotary wing), civil aviation (fixed and rotary wing), space travel (government and private) and research support and data collection. NASTAR Center's equipment and programs are highly modular and flexible and can accommodate a wide range of aerospace training and research requirements.
|FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ETC CONTACT:
Duane D. Deaner, CFO of Environmental Tectonics
Tel: 215-355-9100, ext.1203
Visit www.nastarcenter.com to learn more.
|ETC designs, develops, installs and maintains aircrew training systems, public entertainment systems, process simulation systems (sterilization and environmental), clinical hyperbaric systems, environmental testing and simulation systems, and related products for domestic and international customers.
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