Aviation

Virgin Galactic aims to make space tourism a reality by the end of 2019

Sir Richard Branson has forecast his space tourism company will be ready to take members of the public into space by the end of the year, following another successful test flight.

In its fifth supersonic rocket powered test flight, Virgin Galactic reached space for the second time over the weekend in the skies above Mojave in California.

Spaceship VSS Unity reached its highest speed and altitude to date and, for the first time, carried a third crew member (Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor) on board along with research payloads from the NASA Flight Opportunities program.

Commenting on the achievement, Branson said: “Flying the same vehicle safely to space and back twice in a little over two months, while at the same time expanding the flight envelope, is testament to the unique capability we have built up within the Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company organisations.

“I am immensely proud of everyone involved. Having Beth fly in the cabin today, starting to ensure that our customer journey is as flawless as the spaceship itself, brings a huge sense of anticipation and excitement to all of us here who are looking forward to experiencing space for ourselves. The next few months promise to be the most thrilling yet.”

Branson told the ABC’s 7.30 that he expects Virgin Galactic to be taking members of the public to space by the end of the year, while he hopes to experience it in July.

However, a plane ticket of this kind will set passengers back $349,000 each. Unsurprisingly, a swathe of celebrities have already booked their spot on a Virgin Galactic flight.

Among them are Katy Perry, Tom Hanks, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, according to Entrepreneur.

Virgin Galactic’s space travel offering has been 14 years in the making, and the company was originally set to make it a reality in 2007.

The project has not been without its setbacks, either, with pilot error causing a fatal crash five years ago.

SpaceX (backed by Tesla’s Elon Musk) and Blue Origin (backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos) are among the companies challenging Virgin Galactic for space tourism bragging rights.

 


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

News

“Unfortunately, the world changed”: McGowan suspends WA border reopening indefinitely

The western state will be keeping its borders firmly closed, as Premier Mark McGowan buys more time to bolster citizens against a “flood of the disease”.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Thailand to resume ‘Test & Go’ quarantine waiver from February

Pack your suitcase and ready your sinuses for a holiday in Thailand that promises to greet you with a lovely PCR test.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

AUSSIE FIRST: Accor unveils next gen Mercure Hotels with new Melbourne property

While away your Friday afternoon by perusing through some stunning pictures of Accor’s swanky new-look Mercure in Doncaster.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas threatens to slash cabin crew wages by “almost half” in latest union pay row

by Ali Coulton

The national carrier is once again facing condemnation from unions after applying to scrap its long-haul crew contract in an effort to “push through” a new deal.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Operation nest egg: Air New Zealand helps relocate rare kiwi chicks

The airline is doing gods work by flying these three little cuties to their new home where they were treated to an all-you-can-eat worm buffet.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Say ‘Aloha’ to the Hawaiian Islands and take a trip that gives back

by James Harrison

Check out the beauty, wonder, and excitement of the islands of Hawaii and explore a holiday destination where you can malama.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Crystal Cruises suspends operations as parent company files to windup business

The Hong Kong supercruise operator is winding up operations, leaving the future of its subsidiaries unknown.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Celebrity chef duo Gary Mehigan and Manu Feildel star in new tourism campaign for Japan

The staff at Travel Weekly have been rewatching our favourite anime to reminisce about Japan, but Gary and Manu might appeal to a broader audience than Pokemon reruns.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie tourism took off in December, but remians well below 2019 levels

If these stats are anything to go by, we’ll be back to worrying about overtourism and carbon footprints in no time! Wait…

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

US slaps “do not travel” warning on Australia as Europe tightens border restrictions

The prospect of fewer American tourists milling about at Darling Harbour we can deal with, but if we have to go one more year without a European summer we’re going to go over the deep end.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Union survey reveals transport workers asked to return while COVID positive

Workers who answered the survey, which included passenger transport and aviation workers, are also calling for free RATs. That’s rapid antigen tests, not rodents as we first assumed.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“This isn’t a label we wish to keep”: Intrepid recertified as world’s largest travel B Corp

The tour operator has gone through another extensive company-wide audit to maintain its title, so why is it looking to pass the baton you may ask? Click here.

Share

CommentComments