Virgin Galactic Set to Fulfill Space Tourism Dream with Inaugural Launch

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The British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic, finally sent its first space travelers into orbit, marking a significant advancement in fulfilling long-standing promises.

At 8:30 a.m., the company’s rocket-powered spacecraft, VSS Unity, launched. MT from a New Mexico spaceport connected to a large mothership with two fuselages

The first space travelers from Antigua, Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, who won their seats in a fundraiser drawing, were on board, along with former Olympian Jon Goodwin, who participated as a canoeist in the 1972 Munich Summer Games. Goodwin is now the second space traveler to have Parkinson’s disease.

The group’s adventure started at Virgin Galactic’s spaceport in New Mexico, where the passengers boarded VSS Unity while it was tethered to the mothership, known as VMS Eve, beneath its wing.

Similar to an airplane, VMS Eve lifted off and accelerated along the runway before climbing to a height of more than 40,000 feet (12,192 meters). 

VMS Eve released the VSS Unity after it had reached the desired height, and the VSS Unity ignited its rocket motor for roughly a minute as it swooped directly upward, sending it soaring toward the stars.

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Spacecraft’s Milestone Flight

The spacecraft traveled higher than 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth, which is the distance that the US government regards as the furthest reaches of space. 

Although there is a lot of gray territory, the Kármán line, which is 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level, is frequently used internationally to delineate the border between our world and space.

The spacecraft rocketed skyward at supersonic speeds. And at the height of its mission, the craft briefly experienced weightlessness before gliding back to the spaceport for a 9:30 a.m. runway landing. The trip took one hour.

After the successful launch of Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight in June, this mission was immediately followed by another.

Instead of celebrities and affluent thrill seekers like those carried by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic’s main rival, that initial trip was a research-focused mission with Italian air force-funded passengers. (However, high-profile passengers are anticipated on upcoming Virgin Galactic flights.)

Virgin Galactic’s flight on Thursday was the company’s first with tourists, or customers traveling for fun rather than for business.

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Source: CNN

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