In the past century, the evolutionary timeline of transportation has been filled with new inventions and modes of travel, from the first car, to the first flight, all the way to LaFerrari. There’s no better representation of this fact in current events than Virgin Galactic, a company dedicated to making space flight a commercial business available to the masses.
Like the rapid evolution of transportation, Virgin Galactic is moving closer to their goal with each passing day. On Sept. 5th, Virgin Galactic sent their SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 69,000 ft at a maximum speed of Mach 1.43 according to Space.com. They are planning on launching SpaceShipTwo again in the next month, but this time to a higher altitude and at a high speed.
These “test flights” of the SpaceShipTwo are part of a schedule that was set to open Virgin Galactic’s flights to customers in 2014. More than 650 customers have placed money down and reserved spots for suborbital space travel in Virgin Galactic’s spacecrafts according to NBC News. Tickets prices for these flights started at $200,000 but have since increased to $250,000 due to inflation. This equates to more than $130 million that the company has received for potential space flights.
One famous customer who has a reserved spot is Lady Gaga. She plans to broadcast a musical performance from one of Virgin Galactic’s ships while she is in a zero-gravity environment, making her the first major musical artist to perform in space. Sadly for Gaga, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took the prize for the first musical performance recorded in space in the video he uploaded to YouTube May 12 of this year.
Be on the lookout for not just SpaceShipTwo’s launch in the coming month, but for the rise of Virgin Galactic and the anticipated arrival of commercial space travel.