If you spent your childhood pretending that your parents’ car was a space shuttle and your school backpack was an oxygen tank, space travel was definitely one of your dreams. Now, in your lifetime, that dream may become a reality. Of course, you’ll first have to realise your other dream of becoming filthy rich before you get to experience weightlessness. This is because, while Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic program might be able to take you to the great expanse of space, tickets are an even greater expanse.
Sigh, even making bad puns doesn’t ease the pain associated with the fact that a ticket into space with Virgin Galactic will set you back $250,000. And even then, you’re not likely to have the time to re-enact the entire Apollo 13 script. Flights into space will barely break the atmosphere, and are set to come down as fast as they went up.
Despite this, excitement surrounding Branson’s space tourism project is mounting, to say the least, spurred on by Stephen Hawking’s involvement in the project.
The Latest Developments in Space Tourism with Virgin Galactic
The 31st of October 2014 was a bad day for commercial space flight. Virgin’s last spacecraft, dubbed the Enterprise, was completing another trial run, just like the 55 successful test flights it had already made. But, sadly, the skies of the Mojave Desert spelled disaster as the craft broke up. Pete Siebold, who was piloting the spacecraft, was badly injured, but his co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was tragically killed.
Over a year later, Virgin Galactic is ready to keep pushing forward. The company’s new spacecraft has been dubbed the Unity – a name which legendary astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, helped pick out.
Stephen Hawking, which has been somewhat of a celebrity in the science of space since before he graduated college, has been hand-picked by Richard Branson in being closely related to Virgin Galactic’s SS2. Branson is so dedicated to Hawking being a part of Unity’s story that he not only gave the physicist a free ticket to space, but incorporated his eye into the ‘Galactic Girl’ logo on the side of the spacecraft.
When Will Tourists Take to Space?
The recent rollout of Virgin Galactic’s newest spacecraft, which took place at the Mojave Air and Space Port on the 19th of February, has begun a new era in the company’s push to make space accessible to ordinary (albeit wealthy) people.
There is no date yet associated with the beginning of space tourism, but those who already have tickets are certain that they will be floating in space within the next few years.
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