Richard Branson Touches the Edge of Space. Virgin Galactic’s billionaire CEO Richard Branson entered a new space age. Touched the edge of space on Sunday with three employees, including one Indian heritage, and safely returned to Earth.
To start things off right, Branson rode his bicycle to Spaceport America and met up with the rest of the crew, who then entered the facility and signed the “astronaut log book.” Beth Moses (Astronaut 002), Virgin Galactic’s Chief Astronaut Instructor; Colin Bennett (Astronaut 003), the company’s senior operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla (Astronaut 004), Virgin Galactic’s vice president of government affairs and research, were among those present.
At 08:21 AM PDT (11:21 AM EDT), the mission began at its launch level of nearly 13,715 m with its carrier – the VMS Eve (named after the late mother of Branson) (45,000 ft).
The VSS Unit unlocked the VMS Eve from its rocket motor for a complete 60-second burn at 09:15 AM PDT (12:15 pm EDT). At this moment, Branson was given the green light to release their safety grips and float around the cabin with its other crew members.
The spaceship has reached the highest speed Mach 3 (3,700 km/h and 2,300 m/h) and got 86 kilometers (53,5 mi) (the official boundary of space). Journey cameras installed on the mother vessel, the spacecraft, and the hunting plane caught the whole flight. Branson and his crew also tweeted the event live and provided photographs of his climb and the weightlessness of four minutes.
Post Flight Press Release:
“I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space. We are at the vanguard of a new space age. As Virgin’s founder, I was honored to test the incredible customer experience as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists and now astronauts. I can’t wait to share this experience with aspiring astronauts around the world.
“Our mission is to make space more accessible to all. In that spirit, and with today’s successful flight of VSS Unity, I’m thrilled to announce a partnership with Omaze and Space for Humanity to inspire the next generation of dreamers. For so long, we have looked back in wonder at the space pioneers of yesterday. Now, I want the astronauts of tomorrow to look forward and make their own dreams come true.”
Two further flights, followed by regular trade operations from early 2022, are to be operated by Virgin Galactic. The ultimate objective is to fly 400 times a year.
The firm has already sold about 600 seats for almost $250,000 apiece.
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