Space has become the new playground for the richest men on the planet. For years now, tycoons like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, two of the richest men in the world, have dedicated part of their fortune to promote own space programs. In mid-2021, for example, the former Amazon CEO launched his company Blue Origin’s first manned space mission. Now the turn of another rich man has come.
This Thursday, around 5:00 p.m. (Spanish peninsular time), the British billionaire Richard Branson will launch one of its Virgin Galactic spacecraft into space for the first time. The mission, known as ‘Galactic 01’, was discovered in the company’s first manned flight beyond Earth orbit. The mission will not be revolutionary in itself, since space agencies have been carrying out this type of tour for years. The only novelty will be that the trip will be in the hands of a private company that, sooner rather than later, aspires to create a true circuit of commercial flights so that «anyone» can travel to space.
🇮🇹 Bye, #galactic01!
Meet the crew of the @ItalianAirForce & @CNRSocial_. On June 29 they will blast off to conduct more than a dozen experiments in space, which will examine how microgravity affects the human body and other materials. Learn more about your roles and sign… pic.twitter.com/1CKq2FTKtn
— Virgin Galactica (@virgingalactic) June 26, 2023
As announced by the company itself, This first flight will carry four crew members on board: three members of the Italian National Research Council and the Italian Air Force (Walter Villadei, Pantaleone Carlucci and Angelo Landolfi) and, in addition, a professional pilot who will lead the mission (Collin Bennet). The objective of the mission is carry out a total of 13 experiments in microgravity conditions to study, among other things, how the human body reacts to this type of environment and, in addition, the resistance of new generation materials.
Tickets for 450,000 dollars
The flight will have a duration of 90 minutes and will travel more than 100 kilometers high with respect to the earth’s surface. During its journey, the spacecraft will travel at supersonic speed for a few seconds, rise above the threshold of the Earth’s atmosphere and reach microgravity conditions for three to six minutes. In this short window of time, the crew members of the mission will have to carry out the frightening experiments planned for this flight.
Virgin Galactic’s first space trip will have scientific purposes but, as explained by the company, they will begin to launch shortly commercial flights starring private actors. The company has already announced the takeoff of a second flight, dubbed ‘Galactic 02’, at the beginning of August. And from there, a monthly launch for anyone who wants to travel to space for a few minutes.
How does research in space work? In this way, you will learn how Virgin Galactic’s unique space flight system is opening up a world of possibilities for scientists and researchers. #galactic01 pic.twitter.com/MuTGRrnJkB
— Virgin Galactica (@virgingalactic) June 27, 2023
But how much will the experience cost? According to various sources, the tickets for future expeditions are selling for about $450,000 per person. This price includes the costs of the ‘training’ of astronauts as well as different procedures. The newspaper ‘The Sun’ states that all applicants will have to pay $10,000 just to process their application and that, finally, it will be up to the company to decide whether to accept their candidacy.