Space tourism has officially begun. Technology never failed to awe us. Richard Branson a well-known business tycoon, philanthropist, and billionaire is officially the first person to go to space in his own spaceship. He had dreamt of going to space from when he was a kid. He started Virgin Galactic almost 17 years ago. Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company that develops commercial space crafts. On 11th July 2021, he flew to space on his very own SpaceShip “The Unity 22”.
At Mojave desert in New Mexico, the spacecraft took off. Branson was also accompanied by other five passengers. The flight was almost 90 mins long. The company’s rival competitor Blue Origin is also set for flying to space on 20th this month. It is said that Virgin Galactic preponed its flying dates to compete with Blue Origin. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos the founder of Blue Origin, a fellow billionaire also wished Richard Branson and the entire crew a successful and safe flight.
The chief pilot of the mission was David Mackay. The chief flight instructor was Michael Masucci. Sirisha Bandla is the vice president for Virgin Galactic government affairs is also part of this spaceflight. She is an Indian born who became the fourth Indian to travel to space after Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawal, Indian American Sunita Williams. Meanwhile, Beth Moses is a Chief astronaut instructor. Also, he is a former NASA engineer who was also onboard. So, the crew consisted of Dave Mackay, Colin Bennett, Beth Moses, Richard Branson, Sirisha Bandla, and Michael Masucci.
The spacecraft took off at 8.48 am, the local time. Almost 45 minutes later, the unity rocket ignites blasting the crew to the edge of space. The six astronauts experienced 4 minutes of weightlessness. They were floating freely in the aircraft. The billionaire also called the entire experience magical. Richard Branson became the first person to fly to space by boarding his own spaceship. He had dreamt this off as a kid. 17 years ago he planted the seed of his dreams, Virgin Galactic and all the efforts are totally worth it right now.
Space For All?
Virgin Galactic is likely to launch tourists into space by next year after three more flights by the end of 2021. Almost 600 tickets have already been sold by the company. The passengers are from 60 different countries. The cost of tickets is ranging from $200,000 to $250,000. The company aims to conduct 400 flights per year.