The chance to travel into space will be here much sooner than some people ever dreamed.
“We’re opening space travel to anyone who has ever wondered what is above and beyond,” Virgin Galactic wrote on Twitter. “Get ready for our first commercial spaceflights.”
Amazingly, Virgin Galactic announced its first commercial spaceflight, called “Galactic 01.” It’s scheduled to fly sometime between June 27 and June 30, 2023. That flight, which will be a scientific research mission, will carry three crew members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy to conduct microgravity research.
Then, the second commercial spaceflight, “Galactic 02,” is scheduled for sometime this August.
Monthly commercial spaceflights for private astronauts are expected to begin after Galactic 02’s flight.
Flights Worth Waiting For
Virgin Galactic’s long journey to commercial spaceflights started when British billionaire Richard Branson founded the branch in 2004. Branson later bought core technology developed by Scaled Composites — which is now owned by Northrop Grumman — intending to ultimately develop it for commercial use.
Many years and numerous test flights later, Virgin Galactic completed its final test flight last month.
That suborbital spaceflight on May 25 involved Virgin Galactic’s carrier plane VMS Eve and a six-passenger, two-pilot SpaceShipTwo space plane called VSS Unity.
Eve lifted from a runway with Unity under its wings. At an altitude of around 44,000 feet, Eve dropped the Unity, which then fired up an onboard motor, climbed to 54 miles, and eventually descended and landed back on the runway, according to Virgin Galactic.
During the flight, passengers experienced a few minutes of weightlessness and saw Earth against the black backdrop of space.
A Ticket To Ride
The chance to visit space aboard Virgin Galactic’s aircraft has proven to be quite popular. Indeed, the company has already sold more than 800 tickets for its flights, according to the BBC.
The question on everybody’s mind, of course, is just how much does a seat aboard a commercial spaceflight cost?
Simply applying for the opportunity, or as Virgin Galactic puts it, “submitting your Spaceflight Application,” requires a $10,000 temporary credit card authorization.
If your application is approved, would-be astronauts then need to make a $150,000 deposit.
Finally, the astronauts must pay the remaining $300,000 balance during the year before their spaceflight.
The total cost of the spaceflight is $450,000.
If you’re ready to take flight, you can sign up for Virgin Galactic updates and make spaceflight reservations at Virgin Galactic’s Let’s Secure Your Space webpage.
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