Virgin Galactic to take Civilians to Space
Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic, has announced that his British commercial spaceflight company near completion of its testing phase and almost ready to take civilians into space.
Branson said that he will not announce any dates, but his company might be soon ready to transport civilians to space on Virgin Galactic.
Branson said about his plan on a webcast commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Ansari X Prize victory. Ansari X Prize is a space competition, which was initially called as 'X Prize'. SpaceShipOne, suborbital air-launched spacecraft, was the first spaceship that was not operated by any government team to leave Earth's atmosphere.
SpaceShipOne had completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. In the same year, the spaceship had won a $10 million award. The prize was a part of motivation. The spacecraft, designed by Burt Rutan, an American aerospace engineer, has also made place in history books.
Burt Rutan has designed strong, light and energy efficient aircrafts. He is also known for designing the Voyager plane that flies around the world without landing. The plane was made by several volunteers under Rutan Aircraft Factory and an organization under the name Voyager Aircraft.
The announcement made by Richard Branson has opened the doors of space for the civilians that were waiting for such kinds of programs from a long time. Commercial civilian spaceflight was previously planned to start in 2007, but according to Branson, the task of transporting civilians to space is a greater challenge than he had realized. Branson acknowledges that when the program will be started, civilians will fly aboard SpaceShipTwo,
Ticket price will be about $250,000. Though the ticket prices are high, Virgin has sold about 700 tickets for the first civilians to ever go to space with a private company.
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