Virgin Galactic Just Sent Three People To Space
It might have been for a few minutes, but it counts.
Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic just sent three people into space during a test flight that hopefully brings the company closer to commercial space travel.
Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, the two pilots who directed the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane to 56 miles above the Mojave desert, were joined by Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, as the first passenger along for the ride.
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told Quartz that the team has begun testing safety, comfort and the enjoyment of its passengers in the SpaceShipTwo cabin. Moses was their first test subject.
Space seekers will be able to unbuckle themself from their seat to experience the wonder of microgravity before returning to their seat as the craft makes its way back to Earth.
The company is still in the testing stage, making sure that the center of gravity is correct as well as fitting the interior cabin for comfort and safety. Whitesides says the ship “should look cool” and that customers should get the “proper Virgin brand experience.”
Hundreds of passengers have plunked down megabucks to take a ride on the SpaceShipTwo including Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio. Branson recently told AFP that he spends $35 million a month on the project.
Blue Origin, a potential competitor run by Jeff Bezos, is also working on putting people into space, at a higher altitude than Virgin Galactic, but has yet to do so.
“I think anybody who is doing this professionally knows that human spaceflight is hard,” Whitesides explained.
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