In the past, it was a tradition that the designers and builders of bridges stood under it at the moment the structure was put into operation. It was not just a test of the reliability of the structure, but the highest degree of responsibility for the work of their own hands. Billionaire Richard Branson, head of the private space company Virgin Galactic, will do roughly the same thing this Sunday.
Richard Branson founded his space company Virgin Galactic in 2004, and it was originally focused on space tourism in suborbital flights. The first commercial flight was planned to be carried out in 2008. But, as usually happens, not everything goes smoothly, and as planned. In 2014, a fatal disaster occurred during a test flight. But in 2019, the suborbital flight still took place, and Beth Moses, the head of astronaut training, was on board the ship. She will also take part in the flight this Sunday. Since then, several test flights have been carried out, and as a result,
Branson announced his desire to fly into space on a ship of his own company back in 2013. And this promise is close to being fulfilled. Although, by and large, it will not be so much a flight as a suborbital jump, in fact, for which the SpaceShipTwo series ships are being built. Immediately after crossing the Karman Line, SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity 22 will turn around and head for the Spaceport America runway. On board the suborbital ship, along with Branson, in addition to the two pilots, will be three more employees of the company.
The pilots of VSS Unity 22 will be Dave McKay and
Previously, space was the prerogative of the military and government scientists. But Virgin Galactic, and then #blue origin, and SpaceX are opening the way to space for significantly more people.
A little over a week later, on July 20, to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the first American landing on the moon, Amazon founder # Jeff Bezos will sit in a suborbital capsule, which is docked to the #new shepard launch vehicle, and will also make its flight into space.
And this is just the beginning. # Elon Musk also announced that he would make a space flight on one of his ships. But he has not yet named the exact date.
Further more people will want to become space tourists, and someone will probably decide to challenge Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos, creating new private space companies. The taboo has been lifted, space is open, and no longer belongs only to states and the military. Space should become more and more civil, exploratory and commercial.
Returning to the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity 22 flight, I will assume that, as a result of its successful outcome, which we all wish, Virgin Galactic will have many customers for such flights, and hence the financial resources to create a new, real spacecraft. Branson will not be limited to suborbital flights, and I think he and his colleagues are already planning the further development of the company today.
So the countdown has started. Let’s wish the number of take-offs equal to the number of landings on the runway of their spaceport.
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