A truly out-of-this-world experience, sub-orbital space travel is a near-reality for Virgin Galactic's space travelers
By Annabelle Frankl
To date, over 400 would-be-astronauts have deposited over $40 million to secure their places in what will be a very unique club, as it promises six minutes of weightless flight "escaping the constraints of gravity" while marveling at the beauteous curvature of the Earth and the blackness of space beyond.
Three days of training, medical checks, and G-force prep at Spaceport America in New Mexico are all that are required before six intrepid adventurers are belted into reclining seats – creating more cabin space at zero Gs, reducing 6Gs of stress at re-entry – in the 12-foot long, multi-windowed cabin aboard SpaceShipTwo. Carried aboard the twin fuselage, twin boom WhiteKnightTwo Mothership to an altitude of 50,000 feet, SST's two pilots then engage a hybrid rocket motor to horizontally air launch out of the Earth's atmosphere at speeds up to 2,500mph.
After soaring 68 miles high, SST returns to the earth utilizing an innovative "feathered wing" design that uses simple physics and aerodynamics for a safe and stable re-entry to 70,000 feet, whereupon the vessel commences a glide back to terra firma where, clearly, nothing will ever be quite the same again.
Sir Richard Branson and his children will be the first to boldly go where so few have gone before as they embark on the inaugural commercial flight, anticipated in 2013-2014, slightly behind schedule.
Length 60 feet
Propulsion Hybrid rocket motor, benign fuel & oxidizer
About the Flight
Total flight time 2.0 hours
Passengers may leave their seats
Schedule an appointment to book your ticket online at virgingalactic.com