For those who have an astronomical amount of money in the bank, and who want to relax outside of this world, there is a new option: Virgin Galactic announced on Tuesday that it opens the booking of space flight tickets for the general public on February 16th. That means you have a few hours to collect the $ 150,000 deposit needed to reserve a place to get a space ticket. The total ticket price is $ 450,000, the rest – before takeoff.
Virgin Galactic promises some unique experiences in exchange for this great board. Passengers with tickets will spend several days preparing for a flight to New Mexico, staying in special rooms with “world-class amenities” when they get into astronaut uniform. The actual trip will last 90 minutes, including “branded air launch and acceleration of Mach-3 into space”, which will allow passengers “a few minutes” suborbital weightlessness and the ability to look at the Earth from the 17 windows lining the spacecraft.
The booking will also provide access to the Virgin’s Future Astronaut community, which the company claims will come with its own set of activities and benefits. While press release offered no specifics when it comes to actual flight dates, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Collagier said they want to have their first 1,000 customers on board “later this year”. If all this sounds exciting, you can start the application process before selling tickets to Virgin Galactic’s website.
Virgin Galactic launched its first full-crew civilian transport suborbital flight last July, one of the passengers of which was considered the founder of the company, billionaire Richard Branson. The mission was touted as a successful step towards space tourism, despite a detour caused by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) consequences and temporarily suspended future flights. Since then the FAA closed this query that allows the company to resume launches.
[Related: Blue Origin brought the first official tourists to space]
And while Virgin planned to bring paying participants on board for more than a decade, with a waiting list according to rumors including celebrities, Blue Origin has crossed that line, bringing first paid customer into space also in July 2021 (as well as its founder billionaire Jeff Bezos). Since then, Blue Origin has sent several other space tourists on the flight, including the host of “Good Morning America.” Michael Strahan. However, the company remained silent about its prices The New York Times said in October that it was approaching $ 100 million in space ticket sales.
Although both Virgin and Blue Origin focus on suborbital flights, techn they use to get there, much different. Virgo’s spaceship attaches to a large aircraft that takes off in the traditional way and then drops it at high altitude. After a short free fall, the spacecraft launches its rocket engine, which moves it to the edge of space. Its winged design allows it to maneuver backwards. Blue Origins uses a more traditional method of launching a capsule on a rocket booster, which later separates, sending the capsule into a long free fall. The capsule uses parachutes to safely return down.
The third participation in the space race of billionaires is SpaceX, which focuses on orbital flights, sending passengers deeper into space for longer periods using a rocket and capsule model such as Blue Origin. SpaceX did its thing historical raid into space last year, launching four civilians into orbit in September. The trio of companies have earned both praise and criticism for these trips, with some acknowledging them scientific potential while others point to them adverse effects of climate.
Despite this criticism, the companies are not showing any signs of slowing down – just before the release of Virgin tickets, The New York Times reported that SpaceX is planning a trip that will include the first spacewalk of a non-state astronaut. While the flight will carry one passenger of the billionaire, Jared Isaacman, billionaire resident and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk, himself has not yet made a space trip, although, according to The Wall Street Journalhe had previously booked a ticket to Virgin Galactic.