The challenge between billionaires for who will be the first to travel to space has reached the final stages with a surprise announcement. The British businessman Richard Branson surprised everyone by saying that on 11 July he will be aboard the VSS Unity of his Virgin Galactic. This is the fourth test with a crew (22nd overall), but for the first time there will be six people on board including the two pilots. This spacecraft resembling the features of a traditional airplane will be brought more than 10 km into the atmosphere from another aircraft from which it will then disengage by activating its engines to get to an altitude of 80 km. It is still a zone considered suborbital, if we want to the borders of the real space, where the VSS Unity will remain for a few minutes and then re-enter the surface.
In terms of the type of trip, it is an experience very similar to the one that the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos will realize only a few days later on board the New Shepard capsule of the Blue Origin which will make this suborbital flight thanks to a reusable rocket a which it is attached to. At the beginning of June it was announced that Bezos would also take part in the mission of 20 July, becoming the first billionaire to fly into space. All this before Branson’s surprise announcement came. For the company of the ecommerce owner, however, this is the first time ever of a manned mission, even if 15 tests have already been carried out without people on board. On this occasion brother Mark will also fly along with Jeff Bezos, and 82-year-old former pilot Wally Fun, who in 1961 participated in the canceled women’s space training program a little later. However, the appeal is still missing a mysterious passenger who paid 28 million dollars to be part of the trip.
Two missions that will inaugurate a new phase for the long-awaited space tourism. It is no coincidence that Branson himself in a video announced upcoming news for private citizens who want to travel to space in the future. At the moment Virgin Galactic has already collected 600 memberships for people interested in the experience, charging a ticket from 250 thousand dollars. But in the meantime the Axiom Space it is also organizing the first trip for January 2022 that will bring a paying party to spend 10 days on the International Space Station.
July 2, 2021 (change July 2, 2021 | 11:26)
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