Branson flew into space in his own rocket in July and returned safely to Earth. After this successful first mission, the 71-year-old businessman really wants to start with ‘space tourism’. Another test flight will follow in September with paying customers on board, after which Virgin Galactic has planned at least one more test flight. It is not yet clear when the commercial flights will start.
“We are delighted to announce the reopening of ticket sales today,” Virgin Galactic chief executive Michael Colglazier said in a statement on Thursday. The company hopes to conduct up to 400 space flights per year, with up to four passengers on each aircraft. “We strive to make the wonder of space accessible to a wide audience, opening the door to a whole new consumer experience.”
The test flight with which Branson made history last month took off from a base in the US state of New Mexico. A special transport plane brought the spaceship to 15 kilometers altitude. From there, the spacecraft, flown by two pilots, went under its own power to more than 80 kilometers above the earth. Branson and three of his closest associates were flown to the edge of the atmosphere and were weightless for a few minutes. They saw the curvature of the earth and the boundary between the planet and the infinity of the universe.
Shortly after Branson’s flight, billionaire Jeff Bezos, the former Amazon CEO and founder of aerospace company Blue Origin, followed. Bezos went to space with his brother, the world’s oldest astronaut Wally Funk and 18-year-old Dutchman Oliver Daemen. Branson and Bezos aren’t the only billionaires involved in space travel. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also owns a space company, SpaceX. That company already carries out flights for NASA and launches commercial rockets that take satellites into space, among other things. Musk has not yet announced any concrete plans for a space flight.
Source: De Telegraaf by www.telegraaf.nl.
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