Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Has Flown to the Edge of Space

Richard Branson, the British business mogul, along with three other people, travelled to the edge of space. He was the first billionaire to launch a commercial spacecraft into space. Virgin Galactic, the private rocket, has successfully travelled to the edge of space.

It took over 17 years for the entrepreneur and his organization to develop it. He described this trip as a life-changing experience. Almost an hour after leaving Earth, the spacecraft returned to Earth safely.

For Branson, this has been a magical experience. From his childhood, he says this has been his dream. In his opinion, nothing can compare to seeing Earth from space.

Among the new space tourism advocates, he is the first to test their own vehicle, beating Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

How Did the Vehicle Fly?

The vehicle took off from the Virgin Galactic launch platform called VMS Eve. Approximately ten miles above sea level, it dropped the VSS Unity from the mothership. The space plane then fired its rocket engines immediately and accelerated to three times the speed needed to reach the edge of space.

When the pilots shut off the engine, the spacecraft drifted into space. Thus, the passengers could view the Earth below from the plane’s windows. They remained weightless for some minutes before gravity began to pull them down.

It reached a height of 55 miles above sea level, which the US Air Force and NASA consider being beyond outer space. The trip lasted for about 2 hours. But the passengers were weightless in space for around 4-5 minutes.

When Did the Flight Take Off?

Although the flight took off on 11th July, the launch was delayed by about 90 minutes due to overnight weight conditions.

Michael Masucci and Dave Mackay were also present as pilots with Branson. Additionally, there were three mission specialists. They work for Virgin Galactic. Those are Beth Moses, the principal astronaut instructor; Colin Bennet, the chief operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandha, the vice president for government affairs.

Prior to its commercial operations starting in the following year, Virgin Galactic will conduct more test flights. According to the company, each joyride to space will cost $250,000. However, the price hasn’t been announced just yet.

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According to Greg Autry, a space policy expert at Arizona State University, it has taken 17 years to reach this point. In addition to space tourism, Branson’s business empire includes Virgin Orbit, a company that launches satellites from an airplane over the Mojave Desert called a Boeing 747.

However, the flight is likely to trigger rivalries among billionaire players in the private spaceflight industry. Until now, Elon Musk’s SpaceX had dominated the commercial space launch market. SpaceX plans to conduct other orbital tourism flights, including the first mission to space with a civilian crew.

Branson has billed the aircraft as a test of experience in space tourism. The product will be available to customers next year. His notebook is filled with 40 ideas that he thinks will help the next person fly to space have a more enjoyable experience. But the only way to find these things is to board the spaceship and experience it all by yourself.

About 600 individuals have deposited the money for the trip already. These are the ones who want to reach great heights to see the sky transform into black. They want to marvel at the horizon of the earth. The flight will make them feel weightless for about a few minutes. During this time, they will be able to float around the cabin of Unity.

In order to reach this point, Richard Branson had to wait a long time. A space plane is among the things he intended to create in 2004. In 2007, he anticipated starting the commercial service. However, along the way, there have been fatal crashes and technical difficulties. This caused such a delay. But he is all set now to get the flight-ready for tourists.