When Virgin Galactic first announced their plans to fly passengers and tourists on a new airplane that would use new technologies to create a faster, more efficient space plane; many people were skeptical. Science fiction has predicted space travel to be a reality and now, Richard Branson has brought this much closer to the fact. The space venture opens a whole new world of tourism that caters to the very rich and wealthy.
A team of experts has gathered together to put their ideas into development. One of these men is Sir Richard Branson, who is the founder of the Virgin Group, which owns and operates the space transport business that is Virgin Orbiter. His plan would be to build an aircraft that would use something similar to a hybrid air-plane, and at the same time use solar power to power it.
With this unique design the craft would be able to launch from a runway and then glide gradually towards space using its own atmosphere. The idea is to place it right behind a satellite as it glides through the atmosphere and then use that satellite to power itself for its journey into space. He claims that this system could provide reliable, cost effective and secure transportation to space for the general public sometime within the next decade.
This would be a huge step forward in technology. Previously, the only way to get people to the space station was by using capsules. Then there was the unmanned mission to Mars, but this too proved to be a costly and risky endeavor. With the development of Virgin Galactic you would be taking your first ever ride to the stars. This type of space tourism is extremely expensive because it involves not only paying for the airplane, but for the hotel and boarding/boarding fees as well. However, the upside is that with Virgin Galactic you will be literally flying into the future.
This project is currently focused on four primary goals. They are to demonstrate an aircraft capable of carrying a human weight to launch off from a carrier and then glide towards the moon. Then they would test how the airplane would hold up throughout the re-entry and landing. And finally, they would develop and test a simulator that will allow people to actually travel to space using a Virgin Galactic Spaceship.
It will be exciting to watch all these plans unfold. Many enthusiasts are hoping this will be the first flight of this type in over 20 years. With all the secrecy and engineering of such a new space program, many are anxious to see this through to its completion. Right now, the only thing we know is that the airplane has been designed to carry out low-earth orbit operations and perhaps even to go into orbit around the moon. Its ultimate destination remains the stars but we will find out soon enough what it can do.