Virgin Galactic has carried out its first commercial tourist flight into space. This happened almost two decades after it started selling tickets for such flights.
The flight, designated Galactic 02, took place on August 10. The VSS Unity rocket plane (SpaceShipTwo) was lifted into the air by the VMS Eve carrier aircraft, which launched from the territory of Spaceport America in New Mexico. Upon reaching the desired height, it separated from the carrier and began to ascend.
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) August 10, 2023
As a result, VSS Unity reached 88.5 km. This is below the Karman Line adopted as the official boundary of space by the International Aviation Federation, but above the 50-mile (80.5 km) mark used for this purpose by the US Air Force. After that, VSS Unity returned to the spaceport, landing in planning mode.
Virgin Galactic’s First Space Tourists
Galactic Flight 02 wasn’t the first passenger flight organized by Virgin Galactic. As recently as June, a team of three Italian researchers carried out a trip aboard VSS Unity. They represented the Air Force and the National Research Council of the country. However, the last flight was the first in which tourists who bought a ticket from Virgin Galactic participated.
These tourists were Keisha Schahaff, Anastatia Mayers and Jon Goodwin. Keisha and her daughter Anastatia won tickets in a raffle from the non-profit organization Space for Humanity, which aims to increase the accessibility of space flights for people around the world.
As for Jon Goodwin, in 1972 he took part in the Munich Olympics. He is now 80 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Goodwin was one of the first people to buy a ticket from Virgin Galactic back in 2005. He was very afraid that due to illness he would not be able to make the flight. Before the start, Goodwin said he wanted to demonstrate that the disease did not define him. In addition to the three tourists, there were also a couple of pilots and an instructor on board the VSS Unity.
Virgin Galactic has previously stated that it intends to carry out monthly tourist flights. At the moment, there are about 800 people on the company’s waiting list. As for the cost of a flight ticket, now it is 450 thousand dollars.
According to https://spacenews.com
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