Virgin Reaches For The Stars - Are You Up For It?

Have you ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut or had the feeling just to get out of this world (without using drugs)? Well, Virgin has an aswer for you. Virgin, known for having its hands in many industries, such as Virgin Music, Virgin Poker, Virgin Money, Virgin Racing (they have their own car in the F1, the main sponsor being Full Tilt Poker), Virgin Blue Airlines, now embarks on a new exploration into space with Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic has just recently released its first public space shuttle, given the extraordinary space exploration name ’SpaceShipTwo’.

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Passengers will not only be able to see Earth from a different perspective, but will also experience weightlessness at a cruising speed of 4200 kilometers per hour. The SpaceShipTwo has room for two pilots and a total of 6 passengers.

The home for the first public space launch center will be New Mexico. If all goes well, Spaceport America will be finished by the end of 2010 and will open its gates in 2011. The complex will have a 3 kilometer runway, a hypermodern terminal and of course, a hangar for the whole fleet (containing 2 carriers and 6 space shuttles).

Virgin Spaceport
Spaceport America

Financing for this venture will not be a problem, as Abaar Investments, an Abu Dhabi company owned Sheikh Mansour has bought a 32% share of Virgin Galactic, with hopes and plans of building another spaceport in his homeland.

There is no need for weeks of astronaut training in order to get aboard, but the passengers do need to take part in a medical examination and a centrifugal test. The applicants will participate in a 3-day physical and mental training course, in which they will be preparing themselves for the launch, landing and weightlessness.

The trip will set you back $200,000 and has a duration of 2 hours, out of which you will be in weightlessness for 5-6 minutes. 300 space tourists have already bought their space ticket. The public’s interest in this area is huge, with over 100,000 more serious applicants waiting for their chance to get aboard. Some of them have already payed a $20,000 deposit to secure their seat on the journey. Although the price tag might seem high, there are approximately 8 million people that would be able to fit in the potential ticket holder category.

The long-term aim of Virgin Galactic is to reduce its traveling costs to around $20,000, to make space exploration more affordable for a wider range of people.
Among the passengers already, we can find names like Michael Schumacher, Tony Blair, Victoria Principal and members of the British Royal family.