Saturday 12 August 2023

Virgin Galactic successfully launched its first-ever space trip with tourists

Virgin Galactic's Historic Space Trip Marks Milestone in Space Tourism

New Mexico, United States

In a groundbreaking achievement for space tourism, British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully launched its first-ever space trip with tourists on August 11, 2023. The culmination of nearly two decades of commercial pursuit, the event marked a significant milestone in the realm of space exploration.

The eagerly anticipated flight saw the spacecraft carrying three passengers soar into the weightlessness of space. The trio of adventurers included 80-year-old Jon Goodwin, a former Olympic Games canoeist for Britain; Keisha Schahaff, a 46-year-old health coach from Antigua and Barbuda; and her 18-year-old daughter, Anastatia Mayers, a philosophy and physics student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

As the spacecraft breached an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 miles), announcer Sirisha Bandla proclaimed, "They are officially astronauts. Welcome to space." At this point, the passengers experienced the absence of gravity and marveled at the awe-inspiring vistas of Earth and the cosmos through the spacecraft's windows.

The journey lasted approximately 45 minutes, during which the passengers floated freely and absorbed the breathtaking views. For Anastatia Mayers, the experience was particularly profound, making her the youngest person ever to venture into space.

"I was shocked at the things that you feel, you are so much more connected to everything than you would expect to be," Mayers expressed, indicating that the space trip had a transformative impact on her perspective.

The craft gracefully descended from its celestial sojourn and made a safe landing on the same runway at the company's base in the US state of New Mexico. This remarkable feat marked the realization of Richard Branson's long-standing commitment to making space tourism a reality.

Virgin Galactic's journey towards achieving this goal began in 2004, with the company selling approximately 800 tickets for future commercial flights. The ticket sales spanned different price points, with 600 tickets sold between 2005 and 2014 for $200,000 to $250,000, and an additional 200 tickets sold since then for $450,000 each.

Jon Goodwin, who initially reserved his seat in 2005 but faced setbacks due to Parkinson's Disease, was selected to become the first paying passenger for the Virgin Galactic program after passing physical tests.

"It exceeded my wildest dreams," Goodwin exclaimed, describing the exhilarating experience of space travel.

Virgin Galactic's success in launching tourists into space marks a significant achievement in the burgeoning space tourism sector. The company now competes with the likes of Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, which had sent 31 individuals into space before a temporary grounding due to an accident in September 2022. With this remarkable feat, Virgin Galactic paves the way for a new era of accessible and exhilarating space adventures for those who dare to dream beyond the confines of Earth.

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