Virgin Galactic, a British-American spaceflight company has launched its first passengers into space alongside its founder, Richard Branson.
Since the first man-led mission into space in 1961 by Lt. Yuri Gagarin, space exploration has been a universal topic that has instilled unity and uneven amounts of curiosity in the world. This feat further heightened man’s curiosity and has given birth to several space projects over the past 60 years.
After several failed projects, Virgin Galactic opened its doors to the press, local students and VIPs as it prepared to launch its mothership ‘VMV Eve’. The mothership will be carrying VSS Unity, the rocket-powered spaceplane that would transport four space tourists inclusive of Virgin Galactic’s founder, Richard Branson to the edge of space.
The spacecraft was launched at 8:30 am on July 11 at Spaceport America in New Mexico. It gained momentum as it climbed an altitude of 45,000 feet before detaching at 9.24 am, allowing VSS Unity to begin its ascension. Unity reached its peak altitude of about 282,000 feet after two minutes, allowing its crew members to experience microgravity.
The crew members revelled in the few minutes of microgravity, putting it into good use before the spacecraft made a turn to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere.
This feat put Virgin Galactic ahead of space tourism competitors such as Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s Space X. However, congratulations were in order as the Blue Origin CEO sent a goodwill message while Elon Musk made it to the launch as a special invitee on Richard Branson’s guest list numbering up to 150 members.
Having fulfilled this milestone, the company is gearing towards publicizing its space tourism ambitions by making it possible for paying customers to have access to this new and exciting experience.
“Just imagine a world where people of all ages, all backgrounds, of any gender, of any ethnicity, have equal access to space.”Richard Branson
The age of space travel seems to draw closer as more discoveries are being made. As the earth continues to suffer more and more climatic disasters and resource depletion, space travel and exploration will, in the long run, turn up more opportunities and avenues for the earth to thrive through galactic resource procurement.
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