Five Things You Didn't Know About Virgin Galactic

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Passengers Who Make The Trip Will Be Considered Astronauts

Once it has reached its maximum altitude, passengers on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will get to experience weightlessness for about five minutes. Even though the trips will be sub-orbital, the flights should still see Virgin Galactic’s occupants reach an altitude between 80km to 100km above sea level. The US administration regards ‘space’ as technically beginning at an altitude of 80km (262,000ft). The USAF and NASA consider those who have exceeded 264,000ft, an astronaut.

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SpaceShipTwo Crash

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry up to six passengers and two crew members. It is carried beneath the wing of a larger aircraft and then released at about 45,000ft, at which point it briefly glides before rocketing off to edge of space. The first SpaceShipTwo broke apart during its fourth flight during testing, on October 31, 2014. Co-pilot Michael Alsbury died in the accident, but pilot Peter Siebold managed to parachute safely to the ground. SpaceShipTwo is the commercial version of SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 became the first private manned rocket to reach space.

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More Than 600 People Have Pre-Paid US$200,000-$250,000 Per Ticket

As the saying goes, space is the final frontier. So it’s no surprise that space tourism doesn't come cheap. Upwards of 600 aspiring astronauts/space tourists have paid up to US$250,000 a ticket to reserve themselves a seat aboard Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft to be able to experience weightlessness in space. Tickets initially cost $200,000 apiece but were raised to $250,000. Some of the more famous names on the list of future passengers include Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and Kate Winslet.

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Tickets Sold Even Before The FAA Approved A Commercial Flight Permit

It seems that the soon-to-be pioneer space tourists who were among the first to reserve themselves US$200,000 seats aboard Virgin Galactic’s spacecrafts were satisfied with the mere idea of travelling to space; even when company initially didn’t have the legal capacity to deliver. Back when Richard Branson started Virgin Galactic in 2004, folks were already in line to buy tickets even though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had yet to issue a legal permit for commercial flight. Since then, the FAA granted Virgin Galactic approval in 2014. After the subsequent crash later that year, in October, Virgin Galactic was reissued an operator license for SpaceShipTwo in August 2016.

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Virgin Orbit Is A Spin-Off From Virgin Galactic

Virgin Orbit was born from the achievements of Virgin Galactic’s small satellite launcher called LauncherOne. It will enter into the growing market for privatized small satellite, under the experienced leadership of former Boeing executive Dan Hart. Richard Branson intends to steer Virgin Orbit to join the likes of other notable companies looking to launch private satellites with small payloads; like Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

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