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Airborne 07.10.17: Chambliss Wins Red Bull, Virgin Galactic, XCOR

Also: TSA Failures, Waiex-Alaska, Drone Arrest, Life Flight, UAV Mkt, SpaceX $$$, Intelsat 35e American Kirby Chambliss got his first win in a long time in the Red Bull Air Race series in the stop at Budapest, Hungary. Nine years and 40 races since he last stood atop a Red Bull Air Race podium, the two-time series champion came alive last week, taking the fourth – and most prestigious – round of this year's championship with a run nearly six-tenths of a second faster than anything he'd managed all weekend, denying Hungary pace-setter Pete McLeod at the final hurdle. Following the October 31, 2014 accident involving Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo being tested for Virgin Galactic, the company has been fairly quiet about putting a timetable on when the new SpaceShipTwo ... dubbed VSS Unity ... will fly into space. But GeekWire reports that Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson recently changed all that. During a trip to Hong Kong to kick off Virgin Australia's new route from Melbourne, Branson stated that, "I plan to go to space next year." XCOR has struggled to find its way in recent years, and now the company has finally let the last of its employees go from its facilities in Mojave, CA and Midland, TX. The company reported that it had terminated its workforce as of June 30, 2017. "XCOR management will retain critical employees on a contract basis to maintain the company’s intellectual property and is actively seeking other options that would allow it to resume full employment and activity,” the company said in a statement. All this -- and MORE in today's episode of Airborne!!!

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