Is 2013 a year that kicks off Space tourism?
„Virgin Galactic is the most exciting business that we’ve ever launched and I still sometimes have to pinch myself that it’s for real.“ – wrote Sir Richard Branson on his blog. The venture begun in late 90’s when the name Virgin Galactic was registered.
The first rocket-powered vehicle to fly humans on board
The first WhiteKnightTwo, christened VMS Eve after Richard Branson’s mother, was revealed to the public for the first time in July 2008 and started its test flight program later that year.
At the first roll-out in Mojave it was described as an aviation milestone and for good reason: it is the largest all carbon composite aviation vehicle ever built and the most fuel efficient of its size.
SpaceShipTwo is the first rocket-powered vehicle designed to fly humans on board. Its test flights program commenced in early 2010, and it envisaged an 18 – 24 month period or longer if safety dictates. The plan is to fly 500 people in the first year and 50,000 in the first 10 years. The first commercial flights are planned to operate from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
A Business model FOR Space tourism
Space tourism has great potential for development and is expected to become a global billion dollar industry. The new phase of a more commercial space travel has already involved the creation of new business models for international co-operation, new research and new education, new public procurement, new joint-action organizations between the public and private sectors, new authorities and new legislation.
As you hurtle through the atmosphere’s edges, the large windows show the sky turning from cobalt blue to black. You’re on a high, you’re loving it.
The rocket shuts down. Instant silence. Instant weightlessness. Instant elation.
The Space tourism experience
Sir Branson revealed that the company has now accepted deposits for suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo from 529 future astronauts, a number greater than the total count of people who have been to space throughout human history.
The experience consists of 3 days of preparation, medical checks, bonding, and G-force acclimatization, all included in the flight cost. A carrier aircraft is also a training platform with passenger cabins that replicate the spaceship.
The First travel in late 2013?
Space.com wrote that Virgin Galactic bids to start launching ticket-carrying passengers to the edge of space – aiming for a first liftoff by the end of next year, but the plan depends heavily on the success of a series critical rocket-powered test flights.
The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space
The iconic 120,000 square-foot building of The Spaceport America meets LEED Gold standards for environmental quality and was designed by world-renowned United Kingdom-based Foster + Partners, along with the URS Corporation and local New Mexico SMPC architects. The trio won an international competition in 2007 to build the first private Spaceport in the world.