Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic is almost ready to send tourists into space. The billionaire claims that only few test flights are left in his company. The start of crew is a matter of months.
According to Richard Branson, the months divide us from the first space flights with tourists on board. His company has been working with us for many years to allow those willing to take a short trip over the boundary of space.
Branson: It’s been a month, not summer
Richard Branson celebrated his 69th birthday ( 18th July ) at the NASA Space Center Kennedy during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the first man landing on the moon. On this occasion, the founder of the Virgin Group said a few words about the planned Virgin Galactic flights.
According to the billionaire, many years of work on enabling space flights for tourists are coming to an end. His company is planning to carry out only three or four test flights from New Mexico – the AP agency reports . Previously, a space plane created by Virgin Galactic crossed the space boundaries twice (in December 2018 and February 2019) providing several minutes of weightlessness.
The billionaire, however, did not want to reveal when the company would be ready to launch commercial flights. He points out, however, that we will wait for it probably only a few months.
My prediction about dates has so far been so fatal that I will not give them more. However, I think it will be months, not years
Branson said in an interview with AP.
600 people bought tickets for the space plane
Richard Branson, however, points out that there is no question of passenger flights until the company is certain that they are safe. Pilots also need to train after landing at the new Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA, which Virgin Galactic has just moved to.
I will certainly not fly into space until the courageous test pilots feel 100 percent Comfortable.
– Branson added.
And the queue of those willing to feel the weightlessness aboard the Virgin Galactic spacecraft is large. Tickets cost $ 250,000 each. “About 600 people bought tickets for the place,” says the spokesman for the company. There are many Hollywood stars and singers on the list, including Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry, Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber and Tom Hanks.
In exchange for a quarter of a million dollars, passengers can count on a two-hour flight for a maximum altitude of just over 100 km, during which they will experience zero-gravity for a few minutes. They will also be able to see the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes.
During the last test flight (which was successful) pilots reached a height of 90 km and moved three times faster than the speed of sound (about 3.5 thousand km / h).