Yes, I’m little last to the game on this one, but since loads of kids have asked me about it this week, I thought I’d post. Virgin has revealed the design on SpaceShipTwo (hint: it looks like a big version of SpaceShipOne) which will be flying paying customers into sub-orbital flight very soon.
Starting in 2010, this new craft will take 8 people up into space at a time, letting them experience weightlessness for a moment as well as getting some of the best views of the Earth. The whole experience will last about two and a half hours, and will cost $200,000 (about 50p by then I imagine).
According to Branson 200 people already have tickets, and 85,000 have expressed an interest. If the initial flow of guests can create demand, and constructions costs decline, then we mortals may be able to afford such an adventure ourselves one day.
The craft doesn’t just cater to the tourists though; Branson was keen to point out the scientific side to SpaceShipTwo’s relative accessibility and ease.
This system offers tremendous potential to researchers who will be able to fly experiments much more often than before, helping to answer key questions about Earth’s climate and the mysteries of the Universe
Well we’ll see about that, Sir Richard. For now I would just say that its exciting that this future we’re all supposed to be living in, may finally be living up to the expectations of the 1960s.
Personally I’m not that keen on the idea of flying on Virgin’s new offering, especially if a giant Richard Branson is going to be our landing mechanism.