As 2013 closes Virgin Galactic has just recently tested re-entry of their VSS Enterprise, originally known as SpaceShipTwo spacecraft at a maximum altitude of 46,000 feet above the ground. This has been Richard Branson’s lifelong dream which is to commercialize space or otherwise known as to make space flights more affordable for ordinary people to venture out there and see the stars, planets, nebulas, comets and asteroids with their own naked eyes. The second test (yes there had been two re-entry tests already) was a success and if you can recall the SpaceShipOne took to the skies just over 2 weeks ago at the New Mexico facility.
Is it for Profits or for Science?
At $250,000 per flight it is by far the cheapest way to get to space or I should say low Earth orbit is the technical term for it. The Russians charge $20 million to take a 2-week vacation in their Soyuz space craft with their own version of space tourism; however, that program ended in 2009 and they will require you to go through cosmonaut training before strapping yourself with a couple of billion tons of rocket fuel. (more…)