Imagine the idea that one day you could pay a couple hundred thousand dollars to travel briefly into the heavens. You’d look at the earth from above and realize how small everything under you appears. The idea that a “spaceport” could someday become as common as an airport is perhaps a bit of a stretch, but spaceports may one day soon become more prevalent. Maybe if you’re that much of a dare-devil it’ll be possible for you to suit up and get into outer-space after all. That’s if Sir. Richard Branson has his way. Branson is a british business man who already own plenty of companies including Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines. In 2004 Branson founded Virgin Galactic with the mission to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to a willing, and of course “paying” public. Virgin Galactic operates out of New Mexico. Sub-orbital means that the craft wont make a complete orbit around Earth but will briefly enter space before dropping back into Earth’s atmosphere.
You don’t need a shuttle to get into space after all. Enter Space Ship II. It’s a rocket plane and unlike the shuttle it only has sub-orbital capacity. It flies into space briefly before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. It was unveiled in December of last year. Branson’s mission is to make spacelight affordable, starting prices begin at 200,000 and not to mention a deposit of 20,000. Virgin Galactic isn’t alone in it’s mission to provide space flight for paying customers.
Here’s a good video of Spaceship II’s predecessor, Spaceship I making a sub-orbital flight. This will look similar to the flights Virgin Galactic plans to offer.
Other companies are developing their own plans as well, but Virgin Galactic seems ahead of the mix and hopes to begin to regularly offer the public space flight within the next couple years. So perhaps for now at a couple hundred thousand a flight it’s not exactly at the common man’s price just yet, but it’s a start.
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