Virgin Galactic sends its founder to the outer limits of space
Virgin Galactic sends its founder to the outer limits of space

Richard Branson was the first person to enter space with a rocket he financed.

The supersonic aircraft developed by his company Virgin Galactic, along with Branson and three crew members, flew over New Mexico.

Branson and Virgin Galactic employees Beth Moses, Colin Bennett, Sirisha Bandla and pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masushi fly SpaceShipTwo, the single-engine wing aircraft the company has been developing for nearly two decades.

The mission, called Unity 22, marks the aircraft's fourth test flight and Branson's first. He's a 70-year-old businessman who has been waiting for his first flight on the edge of space in over ten years.

SpaceShipTwo clung to WhiteKnightTwo's belly as it took off, reaching an altitude of nearly 50,000 feet.

About 50 minutes after launch, the second spacecraft separated from the White Knight II at approximately 45,000 feet.

Moments later, the second spacecraft fired its rocket engine and headed toward the edge of space. Its height reached 53.5 miles above the earth's surface.

The passengers of the plane experienced a strong acceleration impulse. They watched the blue sky disappear into the starry darkness of space.

At the top of the flight path, at an altitude of more than 80 miles, the plane remained weightless for several minutes. This gives passengers a panoramic view of the Earth and space.

When Branson was floating in a zero-gravity environment, he used the spacecraft's camera to record a message. This flight is the spacecraft's fourth test flight at the edge of space.

what does that mean

Branson's flight, nine days before Amazon sent Jeff Bezos' rockets aboard his company's spacecraft into suborbital space, was a historic moment for the commercial aviation industry.

For many years now, the nascent industry has been trying to turn subtropical space tourism into a profitable business, aiming to bring thousands of people to the panoramic views of Earth that this type of travel can offer.

Branson and Bezos are preparing to become direct competitors in the industry, offering high net worth clients tickets for upper-atmosphere tours aboard a hypersonic rocket spacecraft.

Virgin Galactic plans to conduct a test flight before beginning to fly with paying customers.

So far, more than 600 people have booked tickets worth between $200,000 and $250,000. The company is expected to resume ticket sales soon. But the price is higher.

Branson's flight also helped cement Virgin Galactic's reputation as the world's leading commercial space route.

Therefore, the company placed an order when it was working with hundreds of customers who were ready to wait for development delays to build SpaceShipTwo.

Virgin Galactic has reached space

Virgin Galactic's business plan has seen a number of setbacks. Including the disastrous test flight accident in 2014, in which one pilot was killed and the other pilot seriously injured. This happened after an error occurred in the SpaceShipTwo system.

Since then, the company has separated from its industrial partners. He said SpaceShipTwo has been equipped with additional automated security measures.

Ahead of the test flight, Branson said he's looking forward to joining the ranks of test pilots and engineers. Whoever piloted two spacecraft because that increased confidence.

"You have to keep in mind that Virgin Galactic has people on every space flight," he added. The fact that I am ready to travel with these people shows my confidence. I think the least a founder can do is go there with his employees.

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