After years of delays, Virgin Galactic is finally taking its first space travelers on a rocket ship voyage. Among them are a mother and daughter from the Caribbean and a man who booked his ticket 18 years ago.
On Thursday morning, the launch window for trips outside the solar system opens in the New Mexico desert at Spaceport America.
With any luck, Richard Branson’s firm will join the likes of Blue Origin (Bezos) and SpaceX (Musk) in the space tourism market by providing monthly excursions on its winged space aircraft.
Jon Goodwin, an early ticket purchaser for Virgin Galactic in 2005, was always confident that the day would come when he would fly. The British Olympian, now 80 years old (he participated in canoeing in 1972), hopes to serve as an example to others by sharing his story of living with Parkinson’s disease.
According to Goodwin, he shelled out $200,000. The new price is $450.000.
An Antiguan health coach, Keisha Schahaff, and Anastasia Mayers, Shahaff’s daughter, will accompany him. The company’s astronaut trainer and two pilots board the plane-launched vehicle, which lands like a space shuttle.
This will be Virgin Galactic’s first space flight with a paying passenger and their sixth space flight overall since 2018. The company’s creator, Richard Branson, joined the first full-size crew voyage in 2021. Italian military and administration members flew on the first commercial flight in June.
According to Virgin Galactic, there are now around 800 persons on the waiting list.
The spacecraft used by Virgin Galactic has two pilots. When the mothership reaches a height of around 50 miles (80 kilometers), it will release the aircraft, which will then use its rocket booster to climb the remaining 10,600 feet to the desired altitude. When the spaceship returns to Earth, passengers may relax their seatbelts and float about the cabin for a few minutes to soak in the breathtaking panoramas before landing.