Virgin Galactic is making history while pioneering commercial space travel. On Jan 10th, 2014, the SpaceShipTwo, a rocket-powered space vehicle, successfully completed its third rocket-powered supersonic flight. After taking off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California Mojave Desert at 7:22 a.m. local time, pilot Dave Mackay and co-pilot Mark Stucky reached an altitude of 71,000 feet – SS2’s highest altitude to date – and a supersonic speed of Mach 1.4. Following a series of similar tests, Virgin Galactic and partners expect to test full space flight within the year.
This program is made possible by the partnership between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS. Teams from Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic are working together to design and conduct the flight tests. Scaled Composites developed SpaceShipOne, winner of the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004 for being the world’s first private spacecraft. Much of the design for SpaceShipOne was used in SpaceShipTwo, but Virgin Galactic’s commercial rockets, launching from Spaceport America in New Mexico, will be able to carry six customers and allow “tourist astronauts” to experience zero-gravity flight and views of our planet that as of yet fewer than 600 people have ever seen with their own eyes.
Seats for space flight are available for $250,000, with three tiers and payment options, from a $20,000 deposit to full charter for $1.25 million that includes an exclusive flight for you and up to five guests. For more information and booking, visit www.virgingalactic.com
You can click on each picture to enlarge. All photos courtesy of Virgin Galactic.