Space tourism: two women and a senior on the next Virgin Galactic flight

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A new Virgin Galactic spaceflight is scheduled for tomorrow August 10, with on board an 80 year old man as well as’a mother and her daughterhaving won their place in a drawt.

This mission, named Galactic 02, will be the second commercial spaceflight of the American company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, after a first carried out at the end of June. The two passengers, Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, 18, are both from Antigua and Barbuda and will be the first people from the Caribbean islands to float in zero gravity.

Keisha Schahaff won this award by participating in a fundraiser organized by Virgin Galactic. The amount of the donation she made was not revealed, but these started as low as $10. The third passenger, Jon Goodwin, participated in the Olympic Games in 1972. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014, he will be the second person with this disease to go into space. At 80, however, he will not be the oldest to cross the final frontier, the record being held by the actor of the series star trekWilliam Shatner – he headed into space aged 90 aboard the Blue Origin rocket in 2021. Also on Virgin Galactic’s next flight will be Virgin Galactic employee Beth Moses and two pilots.

The flight will last approximately 01:30, but passengers will only spend a few minutes in space. A carrier plane will first take off from a conventional runway in New Mexico, then at an altitude of about 15 km, will drop the vessel which looks like a large private jet. It will then turn on its engine and accelerate vertically until it exceeds 80 km in altitude (the limit of space according to the American army). It will then come back down to earth while hovering.

Virgin Galactic plans one commercial spaceflight every month. About 800 customers bought their ticket, initially priced between $200,000 and $250,000 per passenger, which was later raised to $450,000 after the Covid pandemic. Billionaire Richard Branson’s company competes with billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, which also offers short suborbital flights.

John Walker Avatar