More than 500 people have a crack at a trip to space thanks to Virgin Galactic, which has officially launched today.
The cost of a trip to space is a mere $200,000, with deposits starting at $20,000. The trip on Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo will take two and a half hours from liftoff to touchdown, with seven minutes of weightlessness thrown in. Prospective astronauts will also have two large windows to peer back at the earth from during the trip. Liftoff takes place from Spaceport America in New Mexico, the world’s first commercial spaceport.
SpaceShipTwo features some very innovative designs, notably the feathering system that slows and levels the craft during its return to Earth. The design “…does away with the need for sophisticated computer driven flight control systems or the need to rely on the pilots.”
At least two South Africans have already signed up to join the few who have made it beyond the bounds of this planet. Bookings can be made here. You can view some of the in-flight testing for the feathering system below
Source: Virgin Galactic