Richard Branson’s space flight was a success. The billionaire went into space on Sunday evening with his own Virgin Atlantic rocket and landed on Earth. Thus, a historic event for commercial spaceflight was successfully concluded.
When most people think of spaceflight, they think of astronauts orbiting the Earth for days on end. What Branson did on Sunday was less complicated. He flew with three passengers and two pilots on a test flight of the VSS Unity, a type of rocket aircraft, of the SpaceShipTwo type. The unit was attached to an aircraft that launched the missile at an altitude of 15 kilometers. The engines started, after which the VSS Unity moved to an altitude of 80-90 kilometers in just over a minute.
The United States places the start of space at an altitude of 80 kilometers. At this altitude, passengers can see the curvature of the Earth and reach the boundary between the planet and the infinity of the universe.
The live stream showed images of Richard Branson aboard VSS Unity. He spoke briefly and said he had a nice view. He congratulated the teams that made this possible and spoke of a “unique experience”.
At 5:40 p.m. Belgian time, about an hour after take-off, the VSS Unity landed as a regular aircraft at Spaceport in the US state of New Mexico. The whole process ended in no time, but history was made for commercial spaceflight.
“I’ve dreamed of this moment since I was a kid,” Branson said at a news conference after the flight. “But honestly, nothing can prepare you for seeing Earth from space. The whole experience was magical.”
Richard Branson is the first billionaire to make this journey in a device developed by his own company. He is particularly outdone by fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. His flight is scheduled for July 20. Elon Musk is also into space travel and will undoubtedly watch with envy.
Branson plans to offer tourism spaceflights with Virgin Galactic starting next year, to those who can afford them.