Virgin Galactic makes its first commercial flight into space

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The first commercial flight of Virgin Galactic reached space on Thursday, announced the space tourism company of Richard Branson, also the head of the airlines of the Virgin group.

The ship, dubbed VSS Unity, exceeded 80 kilometers above sea level, the boundary marking the beginning of space according to the US military. Following five test missions that have reached space since 2018, this flight marks the start of commercial operations for Virgin Galactic. The ship was carrying here four passengers: two senior officers of the Italian Air Force, an engineer from the Italian National Research Council (CNR), as well as an employee of Virgin Galactic accompanying them. Two pilots were also at the controls.

The mission, called Galactic 01, took off from the base of Spaceport America, in the desert of the American state of New Mexico. A carrier plane took off at 08:30 local time from a conventional runway. About an hour later, some 15 km up, he dropped the craft, a rocket plane that looks like a large private jet. It then turned on its engine and accelerated vertically. For a few minutes in weightlessness, the passengers were able to detach themselves from their seat and float in the cabin. Then the ship came down again while hovering to land on the same runway.

About 800 customers, including a few celebrities, have already purchased their ticket – for a price initially between 200,000 and 250,000 dollars per passenger, before being recently raised to 450,000 dollars. Richard Branson’s space tourism company competes with billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, which also offers short suborbital flights and has already sent 32 people into space.

John Walker Avatar