NASA said Wednesday it has inked a two-year agreement with space-tourism company Virgin Galactic to collaborate on future technologies for commercial spaceflight:
As part of the deal, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic will work with the scientists and facilities at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley to support its current plans for suborbital spaceflight. By 2008, Virgin Galactic, a U.S. subsidiary of Branson's Virgin Group, plans to take six passengers up to a low-Earth orbit in its SpaceShipTwo. How exactly NASA will assist in that effort is still up for discussion, according to a NASA representative.
In addition, NASA and Virgin Galactic will explore the development of technologies that go beyond Virgin's suborbital effort. Those will include hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five times the speed of sound, according to NASA.
Read the story here from C/Net