Cosmic Tours: You Can Soon Fly To Space At $450,000 A Ticket

Billionaire Richard Branson’s company is launching its first set of space flights this June and August, with monthly flights at $450,000 per ticket. 

For the longest time, traveling to outer space seemed like a far-off possibility for the average person. Yes, one could explore the cosmos if they were an astronaut, but that’s not something everyone can achieve. However, very soon, the public won’t need to live vicariously through sci-fi movies and books. 

Virgin Galactic—the space tourism company owned by UK billionaire Sir Richard Branson—will soon be launching its first set of space flights this June and August. Though these are still test flights for scientific research, the company revealed that they plan to open monthly commercial flights to the public afterwards. 

Enjoy the view from outer space through Virgin Galactic's commercial space flights
Enjoy the view from outer space through Virgin Galactic’s commercial space flights/Photo via Instagram @virgingalactic

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Despite some setbacks from technical difficulties and matters of funding, the company has gained plenty of traction. They’ve already sold 800 tickets over the past years, with more sales on the horizon. 

Initially, tickets were priced at $200,000 each, though the company has doubled the amount to an impressive $450,000 per ticket. However, given what’s in store, it’s clear that no price is too big for the wealthy who want their own private tour of the galaxy. 

Initial Flights

The first Virgin Galactic flight—called Galactic 01—is expected to launch from June 27 to June 30. The crew of this initial test is composed of three members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy, according to the BBC. These experts are looking to conduct microgravity research during the said flight. 

Richard Branson and his team of Unity 22 mission specialists Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson and his team of Unity 22 mission specialists/Photo via Instagram @virgingalactic

The space tourism company plans to hold a second flight, Galactic 02, in August. Its participants will include a group of private astronauts. After Virgin Galactic completes these runs, it hopes to start its monthly commercial space flights for the public. 

How It Works

The vehicles under Virgin Galactic aren’t your average rocket ships. For one thing, the company designed them to be more like airplanes. Called a “spaceplane,” the machine not only flies through the Earth’s atmosphere like a plane, but also explores space like a spacecraft. 

The Unity 25 spaceplane Virgin Galactic
The Unity 25 spaceplane/Photo via Instagram @virgingalactic

The vehicle won’t be lifting off from the ground. Instead, a carrier aircraft will fly the spaceplane to an altitude of 50,000 feet. Then, once the aircraft drops the spaceplane, the vehicle will start its engines and blast off from there.

Photo via Instagram @virgingalactic

What to Expect

So what can future passengers expect in this $450,000 flight? Quite a lot, apparently. According to the company, the crew of each flight can anticipate a fantastic view from space at the peak of the spaceplane’s flight (around 260,000 feet above Earth). Each trip is set to last for about two to three hours, which includes four to five minutes of weightlessness. Additionally, passengers will be provided with a custom spacesuit and pre-flight training. 

Passengers can expect their own custom spacesuits as part of their flight package in virgin galactic
Passengers can expect their own custom spacesuits as part of their flight package/Photo via Instagram @virgingalactic

“This next exciting chapter for Virgin Galactic has been driven by innovation, determination and a commitment to delivering an unparalleled and truly transformative customer experience,” shared Michael Colglazier, Virgin Galactic’s chief executive officer.

Banner photo via Instagram @virgingalactic.

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