Virgin Galactic, the space company founded by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, is set to make history by launching its first commercial space flight, named ‘Galactic 01,’ at the end of June. Alongside Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic is part of private space firms that have pioneered the concept of sending civilians into space. However, the experience comes with a heavy price tag, as the tickets for the space journey are $450,000 per person.
Virgin Galactic “Galatics 01”
Virgin Galactic has confirmed a three-day window from June 27 to June 30 for the launch of ‘Galactic 01.’ The VSS Unity spaceplane will carry a crew of six people from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The company plans to conduct a research mission on microgravity during this commercial space flight, with three crew members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy joining three Americans. Branson has also announced ‘Galactic 02’ to take place within the next six months.
The Spaceflight Experience
Passengers aboard the VSS Unity spaceplane will get to experience Space in a 90-minute experience. The journey will begin with a carrier aircraft called White Knight Two, which takes off from a runway and gains high altitude. Then, at around 50,000 feet, White Knight Two releases the rocket-powered VSS Unity, which goes even higher.
VSS Unity will reach an altitude of over 50 miles, crossing the boundary of space as defined by the US Air Force and NASA. Passengers will experience the weightlessness and breathtaking views of Earth. The spaceship boasts 17 windows, providing passengers with incredible points to observe our planet.
Once the rocket motor shuts down, passengers on the Virgin Galatic’s “Galatic 01” will have the opportunity to unbuckle their seatbelts and float in the sensation of zero gravity. After re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, VSS Unity gets back to the runway, offering passengers a smooth and comfortable end to their ride.
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Future of Space Tourism and Pricing
As Virgin Galactic moves into the commercial spaceflight phase, it plans to offer monthly spaceflights. While the initial focus is on high-paying customers, the long-term vision of Virgin Galactic, as well as other private space companies, is to make space tourism more accessible to a broader audience.
The tickets for Galactic 01 are available at $450,000 per person. Although the initial batch of tickets was sold for $200,000 each, the current price has increased. Virgin Galactic has reportedly sold about 800 tickets over the past decade. Furthermore, the high demand has resulted in some ticket holders waiting for over 14 years for their awaited journey.
- Meanwhile, check out our informational video on Nepal’s own Munal satellite.