VideoBritish billionaire Richard Branson has returned to Earth after a short spaceflight with five other passengers. They made history with the first tourist spaceflight. Flight “Unity 22” was launched this afternoon from Spaceport America, the space base of Branson’s Virgin Galactic company. Small disclaimer: Branson isn’t the first space tourist and critics argue that he’s actually in “space.”
Branson and his fellow passengers flew to the edge of the atmosphere and were weightless for a few minutes. They saw the curvature of the planet, the boundary between Earth and the infinity of the universe, and they returned to Earth with a new experience. “Seventeen years of hard work have brought us here,” Branson happily told fellow passengers on the way back, and the total journey took about 15 minutes.
The private jet took off from Spaceport America, near the village of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico. The VSS Unity spaceship hangs below the plane. At an altitude of 15 kilometers, the plane launched the spaceship. The engines started, and within a minute the VSS unit rose to a height of 80-90 kilometers.
The trip was not without danger. In 2014, a Virgin Galactic test plane crashed. The co-pilot, who was killed, switched the wrong link during takeoff.
The crew of Flight 22 were pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci and four passengers. In addition to Branson, there are three of his closest colleagues. Virgin Galactic calls it one of its last test flights. If Branson agrees to the trial, first paying customers can head to space next year.
before that happens Branson loves his kids Holly and Sam firstIn his thirties, take it with you. His wife, Joan, was less enthusiastic. “She’s the kind of person who would dread on a trip like this. She’s the last person to do something like this,” Branson said earlier this week. But she’s known me long and well enough. She’s said, ‘If I’m crazy enough to do With unbelievable things, do it. But I will not attend your funeral.”
The journey can be followed via livestreams on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, among others. With this mission, Branson defeated two other billionaires in the race to space. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth, wants to take a space flight in about a week using a device from his company Blue Origin. Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla) also wants to sell tourist spaceflights with his company, SpaceX.
Branson and his opponents were arguing over whether Virgin Galactic’s passengers had actually gone into space. The boundary at which the Earth ends and space begins is called the Karman Line.
Branson follows NASA, which says space begins at an altitude of 80 kilometers. Bezos follows the FAI aviation association, which says the line is at an altitude of 100 kilometers. So Bezos claims that only his clients really go into space.
Not the first tourist
By the way, Branson and his collaborators are not the first space tourists. The first of them was Denis Tito. Twenty years ago, in April 2001, an American millionaire flew a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station. Tito paid $20 million to make his dream come true.
“I was elated,” he told the news channel. CNN. “It was the best moment of my life. I knew then that nothing could beat this.”
After Tito, only a handful of very wealthy tourists followed in his footsteps. The American closely follows developments in space tourism. He hopes that many more will follow his lead in the future and feel the excitement of space travel. I wish them the best. I hope they have a great experience that I had.”
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