On Virgin, passengers sit in a space plane suspended below a carrier aircraft. They took off together Thursday from Spaceport America in New Mexico. After takeoff, at an altitude of about 15 kilometers, the plane dropped the spacecraft. The engine was started and the plane rose to an altitude of about 100 km, three times the speed of sound. At the edge of space, the crew members were weightless for a few minutes. They saw the curvature of the Earth and the boundary between our planet and the infinity of the universe. Then the plane returned to Earth by gravity.
In July 2021, Branson himself went into space with one of his company’s rocket-powered planes. The eccentric businessman hopes this will be the start of a profitable venture. Virgin wanted to sell tickets to space for hundreds of thousands of dollars each. During Branson’s flight, however, it was revealed that the plane had veered off course. This is why the space program has been stalled for a while.
Branson and Virgin Galactic compete with SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. They all want to sell space tourism. Musk sold a sightseeing trip to the moon to a Japanese billionaire. SpaceX and Blue Origin also participate in the US government’s space program. On Wednesday, the curtain finally fell on Branson Airlines’ subsidiary Virgin Orbit.
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