All this combines to give assisted launch great flexibility and the capacity to launch more times of the year, into more orbits, from pretty much anywhere you want to go. For very specific small packages which need unusual orbits, this can be a boon. For national security packages that need to be able to launch quickly, for example if your opponent has anti-satellite weapons and you want to be able to redeploy on short notice into any necessary orbit, this is especially huge.
Thanks for the reply. Lots of good stuff here. This part above is specifically what appeals to me about this method. I see a huge market for smaller, cheaper, more frequent launches. We need work-horse methods of getting into space more than we need another extremely over-speced project like the shuttle.
On top of all this for Virgin Galactic specifically, the vehicle never actually reaches orbit. You go up, you freefall for a few minutes and experience apparent null gravity, and then you land. You can never for instance dock with a space station, or transfer to another craft, or spend any longer than a few minutes in "technically space according to the airforce". So while it's an interesting novelty, it will never be able to hook in to what many of us anticipate will be a future space infrastructure, including civilian space stations or orbital industrial facilities or transfer flights to the moon and beyond. So in that way it looks likely to be a dead end, barring some serious improvement in the technology.
This point, however, is where you lost me. Yes, this version doesn't reach orbit. But why the insistence that this style of launch never will? Isn't serious improvement in the technology the entire raison d'etre of Virgin Galactic? Is there anything fundamental to the design that means it will never be capable of these things? Does the smaller size make it physically impossible, or is it just something we haven't done yet? I don't grok the extrapolation.
Just imagine how many people could eat or receive critical life saving medical care with all that money. But billionaire wants to go to space.
My personal idea is to take the money away from the rockets that go "boom" and put it into the rockets that go "up". The details of executing this plan, however, seem to be a bit more complicated than I originally hoped.