Pristine Space Tourism Begins: First Paying Customers in Space

It’s unclear exactly what time the launch is today, but a live stream on the launch would start around 5pm Dutch time, according to Virgin.

Airplane launch

Unlike other companies, the rocket does not take off from the ground. It is suspended under an airplane. Together they take off from Spaceport America airport in the state of New Mexico. When the pilots and flight controls are ready, the plane drops the missile at an altitude of 10 to 15 kilometers.

When the rocket is detached from the plane, its engines turn on. In two minutes, it shoots at an altitude of about 100 kilometers. There is the edge of the atmosphere and the universe begins.

The occupants are weightless at this height for a few minutes. They see the curvature of the earth and the infinity of the universe. The plane does not climb high enough or fast enough to orbit the Earth. After a while, gravity pulls the craft back to Earth. Then the landing begins and the hover ends.

Three Italians

There are three Italians on board. One of them is Air Force Colonel Walter Villadei. Next year he will travel as a guest to the ISS space station.

The other two are Air Force medic Angelo Landolfi and investigator Pantaleone Carlucci. During the flight, they want to do medical tests. In addition, a companion and two pilots will accompany you during the flight.

The Branson company made the first test flight in 2003, with an airplane. In 2010, the aircraft carried a rocket for the first time. It went wrong in 2014. The rocket co-pilot made a bad switch on takeoff. The plane broke up and the co-pilot was killed.

Competition for tourism

Branson’s Virgin Galactic competes with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. They all want to sell sightseeing flights to space.

Musk has sold a tourist flight to the moon to a Japanese billionaire. SpaceX and Blue Origin are also involved in the US government’s space program.

This space tourism guarantees that the amount of CO2 will increase considerably. Missile pollution ends up high in the atmosphere and therefore persists for a long time: two to three years. This longer duration also means a greater contribution to global warming.

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