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Virgin Galactic to fly to space 'within weeks'


Posted on Tuesday, 9 October, 2018 | Comment icon 7 comments

Commercial flights could begin within the not-too-distant future. Image Credit: YouTube / Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's fledgling space tourism firm could be heading in to space for the first time very soon.
It's been a bumpy few years for Virgin Galactic, especially with the loss of its original SpaceShipTwo in October 2014 - an accident that not only claimed the life of a pilot, but also cast doubt on whether the company's lofty goal of launching tourists in to space would ever happen at all.

Now though, following the success of SpaceShipTwo's successor 'VSS Unity', things are looking up.

During a recent interview with CNBC, Branson stated that the company was "more than tantalisingly close" to its first flight in to space and that he is expecting this to happen "within weeks, not months."

He also added that he was hoping to be a passenger himself "within months, not years".

Virgin Galactic is not the only company aiming to launch passengers in to space in the near future - Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also hoping to do something similar with his firm Blue Origin.

With Elon Musk's SpaceX also planning to offer trips to paying passengers, it is looking as though there could be some stiff competition in the space tourism sector within the not-too-distant future.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (7)

Tags: Virgin Galactic, SpaceShipTwo

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by MissJatti on 10 October, 2018, 9:29
Ohhhh woow, its not like a middle class person can ever be on one of these ever
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 10 October, 2018, 10:48
That's what some people said about jet liners when they first started... but they didn't understand how technology and basic economics works either. All new forms of transport start off highly priced. As they become successful prices are driven down. The reason that ordinary people can fly around the world today is because the rich "jet setters" did so in the 1950's. As jet flight became more routine prices fell. As prices fell more people could afford to fly. As more people could afford to fly flights became more routine. The reason that ordinary people will be able to afford flights into spa... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Derek Willis on 10 October, 2018, 13:32
You aren't comparing like for like. The seven space tourists you mention spent a week or two in orbit. The Virgin Galactic flights are a few minutes of zero-g during a sub-orbital flight. So it isn't really correct to say there has been a hundred fold decrease in price. I am sure the price will come down - once the $600 million investment has been recovered in however many years. I think many people would pay $10,000 for the trip of a lifetime, but I doubt it will ever be as cheap as airfares across the Atlantic, or wherever. In that case, it will remain essentially a middle-class activity - a... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 10 October, 2018, 14:52
Whilst that is true, the point I made, that it was the only way for tourists to experience space is valid. As it was the only way for tourists to experience spaceflight, and as there is now a way that is 100 times cheaper it is still a valid argument.  Bingo.  Now go and read the post I was arguing against.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Derek Willis on 10 October, 2018, 14:56
Hmm, I think you are being a tad slippery there. I took MissJatti's post to be ironic. You know, as in only middle class people will be able to afford to fly on Virgin Galactic. Which is why I was agreeing with her.
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer on 10 October, 2018, 20:32
Even if the price becomes "affordable" for the "middle class" (which really needs redefining)  I doubt I'll live to see it.  At 65+ I just don't think the price will drop that quickly for me to go.
Comment icon #7 Posted by toast on 10 October, 2018, 20:58
I have no idea how much the operational costs for these flights are but I would say they are pretty high so I dont think that the tickets will be under 20K in future. 20K x 6 (seats) x 4 flights per day per shuttle will be 480k per day and I would say thats needed to make the bizz profitable also under the consideration how many hundred of millions have been invested in R&D, air/spacecrafts and the Spaceport America A/P.


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