The Virgin Galactic shuttle, for tourist travel in space. - HO / Virgin Galactic / AFP

Twelve portholes, 16 cameras and a large mirror at the back of the cabin to admire: the space tourism company Virgin Galactic presented this Tuesday the interior of the vessel which will take, on a date still undetermined, passengers capable of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to float a few minutes on the edge of space. The company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, and now listed on the stock exchange, has continued to postpone the date of its first commercial flight, but its executives recently assured that it was only a matter of months.

Virgin Galactic unveils its spaceship cabin, fit for very wealthy tourists

- Bloomberg (@business) July 28, 2020

Several test flights have yet to take place, an official said on Tuesday, before Richard Branson himself took his place on board. The interior of the cabin, which will have six seats in addition to the two pilots, has been designed to maximize the view of Earth. Each seat is near a large oval window, and a camera is attached to each of these windows so that the passenger can be photographed with the Earth in the background, without needing to take out their own device. Photo.

Get on board for $ 250,000

Passengers will be able to unfasten their seat belts to float, and other windows piercing the cabin ceiling will offer a spectacular view of the globe, amid a dark sky. Six hundred customers with up to $ 250,000, what the company calls “future astronauts,” have waited years to board the SpaceShipTwo, but development was delayed by a fatal accident in 2014, when improper handling of the aircraft. One of the two pilots caused the aircraft to disintegrate in flight.

The spaceship will first be carried by a special aircraft and dropped at altitude. A few seconds later, the spacecraft, half-plane, half-rocket, will ignite its engine for a supersonic ascent, with an acceleration of 3.5 g, or three and a half times the weight of the Earth. Then it will cut it, which will create a feeling of weightlessness for several minutes, while the device reaches its peak, at an altitude of a little over 80 km. It will then begin its descent back to Earth, like a cannonball and hover until it lands, at the company-built Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert.

As for the price for new customers, "we will undoubtedly see a small increase", conceded this Tuesday George Whitesides, "space director" of Virgin Galactic, during a virtual press conference.


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