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Virgin Galactic

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by Andrew Burton (subscribe)
I am a Freelance Writer-Photographer and Novelist. I travel to find inspiration, wherever the distant horizons lead.
Published February 20th 2016
Now you can really loose your luggage
Ronrosano / Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0

We have watched flying saucers, rockets and space ships for a generations, and now commercial space flight is here. While the cutting-edge industry is in its infant state, prices will be high, and in time, competition will make space travel more accessible to more people. The idea is being pursued by Sir Richard Branson, the entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group. His modest beginnings with Virgin Record stores soon saw his natural talents realised from around 1970. Now the multi-billion dollar Virgin Empire is unveiling a spaceship. Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity, a short trip spacecraft designed for passenger flight into space-has given the world its first look at what will become a frontier industry.

Designed by Professor Stephen Hawking, the very futuristic VSS Unity can take clients on a trip into space. This whole experience includes a view of our planet from space, and several minutes of out of your seat weightlessness. Summed with Branson's own words at the event,"Together, we can make space accessible in a way that has only been dreamt of before now, and by doing so can bring positive change to life on Earth. Our beautiful new spaceship, VSS Unity, is the embodiment of that goal also great testament to what can be achieved when true teamwork, great skill and deep pride are combined with a common purpose."[Virgin Galactic website

Nicholas Miller / Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0


After the development period commencing with an agreement signed in September 2004, Branson has combined with a space tourism company now named Virgin Galactic. The sleek looking spacecraft was unveiled February 19 2016, and will soon be commencing commercial spaceflight tourism. For more about their future plans click here. It is launched at 50,000 feet from White Knight Two-a dual bodied plane that carries the VSS Unity to launch altitude. Once released the craft exceeds ultrasonic speeds in about 8 seconds, or in layman's terms peaks at over 4321.8 kilometers per hour-also referred to as Mach 3.5 by aeronautical enthusiasts. Although the craft is not reaching escape velocity, and does not orbit the earth, this is a first real step into regular space flight for people who are not astronauts. Don't even think that is the limit, continual development and testing will mean higher speeds and higher altitudes as time passes.

The whole process and development has not been without incident and a tragedy serves a timely reminder of the danger found in new frontiers. Virgin Galactic's Spaceship One disintegrated in a ball of flames when the co-pilot applied the speed feathering mechanism during a test flight. The mechanism was designed for reducing speed upon descent and was applied during the initial acceleration. Branson reconsidered the whole project but was finally dissuaded by his advisers, staff and associated organisations. Don't let fear sway your adventure, who thinks twice before driving on our roads based on the yearly death toll.

Akradecki / Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 3.0


A positive affirmation for Virgin Galactic's commitment and expertise, is that they have been selected by NASA to launch satellites and provide experimental facilities too. If you have a good bank balance or are happy to mortgage as some have already done for the new endeavour- the chance of a lifetime-opportunity is here. Be enthralled by Virgin Galactic on their website. Space flight could be a new edition to your Bucket List. The tickets are US$250,000 each and while that is a great deal, what price do you place on such an experience?
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Why? Travel into space.
When: Follow the Virgin Galactic website for updates.
Phone: 1 661-824-2433
Where: Mojave Desert, California, United States
Cost: USD $250,000.00
Your Comment
Way out of my price range I'm sorry to say but wouldn't it be awesome. It only seems like yesterday since they begun work on her and here she is ready to go. I'm jelaous of her passengers to be.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|5994) 733 days ago
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