businesswire | May 22, 2023
Vertical Aerospace a global aerospace and technology company that is pioneering zero-emissions aviation, today announces that South Korean mobility technology company, Kakao Mobility, has pre-ordered up to 50 of Vertical’s VX4 aircraft, adding South Korea to Vertical’s list of customer launch markets.
Kakao Mobility, the largest Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform in South Korea with more than 30 million registered users, is the mobility subsidiary of South Korean internet giant, Kakao Corporation. Kakao Mobility runs the country’s most popular taxi-hailing app, Kakao T, providing taxi-hailing, designated driver booking, parking space search, and Kakao Navi app providing real-time traffic information services.
Vertical and Kakao Mobility will establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) to drive the commercialisation of AAM services in South Korea, including the exploration of network and fleet planning, infrastructure requirements, regulatory development, and consumer awareness of eVTOL mobility solutions.
South Korea is one of the largest economies in the world and is home to globally leading technology companies. Seoul, as well as other regions including Busan, is expected to have a significant Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market potential.
This JWG builds on Vertical’s existing consortium partnership with Kakao Mobility, LG Uplus, GS E&C, and the continued engagement with Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, for the K-UAM Grand Challenge (K-UAM GC).
The agreement with Kakao Mobility marks Vertical’s first partnership with a mobility technology company, enabling Vertical to leverage their existing customer base and vehicle network to create a seamless air-to-ground passenger journey and UAM ecosystem in the country.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical’s Founder and CEO said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Kakao Mobility. With its over 30 million registered users, Kakao Mobility is the go-to choice to ‘hail a ride’ and with our partnership, we look forward to people across South Korea being able to fly in a VX4 in the years to come. We are thrilled to be working together to make our joint vision a reality'.”
Alex Ryu, CEO of Kakao Mobility commented, “Kakao Mobility is the leading mobility platform and in an AI-enabled world with needs for faster, eco-friendly means of moving, we understand that UAM will be a game-changer in the near future. We are excited to take part in Vertical Aerospace’s mission to launch its VX4 globally and to bring an UAM service to Korean market. We will be expanding our business not only on the ground but to the sky through this partnership. As a consolidated mobility platform, Kakao Mobility will develop the “De Facto Standard” for UAM services. We look forward to collaborating closely to complete the K-UAM Grand Challenge successfully and into commercialization shortly after K-UAM GC.”
Vertical already has strong ties to South Korea with Hanwha, a key partner for the VX4 certification aircraft. Vertical is leveraging Hanwha’s four decades of industrial expertise to collaborate on the development and supply of actuator systems for the VX4.
About Vertical Aerospace
Vertical Aerospace is pioneering electric aviation. The Company was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, an established entrepreneur best known as the founder of the OVO Group, a leading energy and technology group and Europe’s largest independent energy retailer. Vertical has focused on building the most experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry, who have previously certified and supported over 30 different civil and military aircraft and propulsion systems.
Vertical’s top-tier partner ecosystem, including Rolls-Royce, Honeywell Aerospace, Leonardo and GKN Aerospace, is expected to de-risk operational execution and its pathway to certification allowing for a lean cost structure and enabling production at scale. Vertical has a leading pre-order book from a diverse global customer base, creating multiple potential near term and actionable routes to market. Customers include airlines, aircraft lessors, helicopter operators and tourism groups, including American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow, Marubeni, Iberojet and FLYINGGROUP, as well as Japan Airlines (JAL), Gol, Air Greenland, Gozen Holding and AirAsia, through Avolon’s VX4 placements.
Vertical’s VX4 eVTOL is projected to be capable of transporting a pilot and up to four passengers, traveling distances of up to 100 miles, and achieving a cruise speed of 150 miles per hour, while producing minimal noise and zero operating emissions.
Vertical’s VX4 prototype has successfully undertaken piloted flight tests and it is now in the next stages of the flight test programme, which is expected to reach higher altitudes and speeds, as well as demonstrating the transition from vertical to horizontal flight.
PRnewswire | May 26, 2023
Stratolaunch, LLC ("Stratolaunch") today announced that it has received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to acquire Virgin Orbit's modified Boeing 747 and its related parts and equipment, marking an expansion of Stratolaunch's air-launch fleet. The acquisition is expected to close by July 31, 2023.
Stratolaunch is a technology accelerator that enables reusable and routine hypersonic testing through world-class aerospace vehicles and in-flight test capabilities. Upon closing of the acquisition, the additional aircraft will be repurposed as a launch platform for Stratolaunch's Talon-A reusable hypersonic testbeds and is expected to be fully operational in 2024. The expansion of Stratolaunch's fleet will increase its in-flight test capacity and ability to support government and commercial customers globally.
"The addition of this aircraft is a transformational milestone," said Dr. Zachary Krevor, President and CEO of Stratolaunch. "With Roc remaining as our mainstay aircraft, an additional 747 brings expanded capabilities and flexibility to our platform. We will be able to increase both our flight test capacity and reach to become an even stronger partner to global customers."
The acquisition of the modified 747 follows Stratolaunch's first successful Talon-A vehicle separation test on May 13. During the separation release trial, Stratolaunch demonstrated clean and safe separation of hypersonic vehicles and confirmed telemetry between the vehicles and on-the-ground communication assets. With this landmark test complete, Stratolaunch will progress toward its first hypersonic flight of the TA-1 expendable testbed in late summer 2023.
Krevor continued: "The need for hypersonic testing has never been greater and we are committed to fulfilling this national imperative. We are making tremendous strides as we continue to enable the future of hypersonic testing. With the recent successful Talon-A separation test, we are excited to prepare for our first hypersonic flight of the TA-1 testbed."
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. Following closing of the acquisition, the aircraft will undergo maintenance and modification to accommodate its new hypersonic test mission. The launch platform will also be renamed in the coming months.
Stratolaunch's mission is to advance high-speed technology through innovative design, manufacturing, and operation of world-class aerospace vehicles. Stratolaunch designs, manufactures, and launches aerospace vehicles and technologies to fulfill several important national needs, including the need for reliable, routine access to space and the need to significantly advance the nation’s ability to design and operate hypersonic vehicles.
PRnewswire | May 23, 2023
Axiom Space and Build-A-Bear Workshop have partnered to fly a furry fifth crew member alongside the Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) astronauts. The teddy bear, named GiGi, took flight yesterday as the Ax-2 mission's zero-gravity indicator wearing Axiom Space's next-generation spacesuit.
GiGi going to space continues the tradition of having a zero-gravity indicator inside the spacecraft to provide a visual indicator when the spacecraft has reached the weightlessness of microgravity. As the fifth crew member of Ax-2, GiGi's mission is to inspire children around the world to learn about space and consider careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM).
"Axiom Space is excited to partner with the iconic brand Build-A-Bear to encourage children of all ages to learn about space exploration and our efforts to expand access to microgravity for individuals, countries and institutions to conduct meaningful scientific research," said Sandra Nelson, Vice President of Marketing, Axiom Space. "GiGi was designed and built for the next generation of space explorers who will enable us to explore beyond, build a sustainable future in low-Earth orbit, and realize the extensive science research that will be achievable with their involvement and active participation in STEAM."
Sharon Price John, President and Chief Executive Officer at Build-A-Bear, emphasized the intent of this new partnership and special flight. "Guests dream big at Build-A-Bear, and the opportunity to partner with Axiom Space as part of the Ax-2 mission and send GiGi, the furry fifth crew member, to space is a special honor that we hope inspires youth across the globe to reach for the stars, pursue adventures, and follow their passion," she said. "With Build-A-Bear's 25-year history of creating special moments, our GiGi wearing the next-generation spacesuit, has the wonderful opportunity to be part of history as the Ax-2 crew's zero-gravity indicator."
About The Ax-2 Mission
The Ax-2 crew launched to space by way of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and a Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Ax-2 crew includes Commander Peggy Whitson and Pilot John Shoffner, both from the United States, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi representing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This partnership is driven by the shared goal for GiGi to encourage youth to learn more about space exploration and consider career paths in STEAM. Young enthusiasts can follow GiGi's journey on her blog designed to help kids see themselves through her unBEARlievable experience.
"As a young cub, I was always drawn to math and science projects. After the gift of a telescope one summer, I felt connected to the stars in a way I never had before, and I knew STEAM studies were for me," says GiGi in her blog. "Now as a full-time astronomer and aspiring astronaut, I am over the Moon to be part of the Ax-2 mission. After all, it takes a lot of heart and courage to be a space explorer, and I am ready for it."
ABOUT AXIOM SPACE
Axiom Space is building history, guided by the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human, everywhere. The leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure, Axiom Space operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station today while developing its successor, Axiom Station – a permanent commercial destination in low-Earth orbit that will sustain human growth off the planet and bring untold benefits back home.
Build-A-Bear is a multi-generational global brand focused on its mission to "add a little more heart to life" appealing to a wide array of consumer groups who enjoy the personal expression in making their own "furry friends" to celebrate and commemorate life moments. Nearly 500 interactive brick-and-mortar experience locations operated through a variety of formats provide guests of all ages a hands-on entertaining experience, which often fosters a lasting and emotional brand connection. The company also offers engaging e-commerce/digital purchasing experiences on buildabear.com and its age-gated, adult-focused "Bear Cave". In addition, extending its brand power beyond retail, Build-A-Bear Entertainment, a subsidiary of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., is dedicated to creating engaging content for kids and adults that fulfills the company's mission.