The typical flight on Virgin Atlantic can cost anywhere from $900 to $10,000, depending on where you’re flying and how comfortable you want to be when doing so. That’s a pretty standard price for airfare nowadays, but if you want to go to space it will cost you a little more. Virgin Galactic recently announced that it’s selling space flight tickets and they cost as much as a house.
Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed space flight launched on July 11
In case you’re unaware, Virgin Galactic completed its first fully crewed space flight on July 11 of this year. The airline’s SpaceShipTwo Unity 22 aircraft took off from the Spaceport America facility in Mexico with two pilots and four passengers aboard. One of them was the company’s head chief, Sir Richard Branson.
At the apex of the flight, the pilots and their passengers experienced four minutes of weightlessness before returning back to terra firma, reports Space.com. Fortunately, the entire flight, which took the crew 282,000 feet above Earth’s surface (lasting around an hour) landed safely and smoothly. Branson was quoted saying that it was “an experience of a lifetime.”
There will be three different purchase options
As you can imagine, that space flight garnered a lot of attention from the public after seeing its success. However, the space flight tickets were originally slated to cost around $250,000 back in 2014, but that was before sales were suspended following the V.S.S. Enterprise crash during a test flight. The company recently announced that tickets will start at a cool $450,000 and there will be three different ticket options available to those well-heeled customers.
Virgin Galactic customers can opt for a single-seat ticket, a group ticket, or an entire-flight ticket on the eight-passenger Unity aircraft. The company will also sell seats for microgravity research and professional astronaut training at $600,000 each.
Space.com noted the procedure for the space flight, which has the VSS Unity taking off under the wing of a carrier plane called VMS Eve. After leaving the runway, the flying duo will cruise up to an altitude of 50,000 feet before separating. The space liner will then ignite its rocket motor to blast itself to suborbital space, or the edge where space and the Earth’s atmosphere meet.
At that point, the passengers will experience about four minutes of weightlessness and get a front-row view of the blackness of space before making the descent back to Earth. To date, about 600 people have signed up for a spot on the space flight.
There will be more space flight testing
Although ticket sales have opened up, Virgin Galactic is still going through its testing phase, reports the New York Times. The next flight is reportedly taking place in late September and will carry paying customers from the Italian Air Force to conduct experiments.
There’s also a flight scheduled for the middle of 2022 for more testing, but after that, the space flight company is aiming to increase the frequency of the flights for the customers that paid to get on board.
Despite the ticket’s astronomical price tag, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Executive, Michael Colglazier, was quoted saying that the flight “delivers such a great value, that people who experience this journey with us can’t help but recommend it.”
We hope so, considering a flight to Europe costs a tiny fraction of the cost to space. Also, you get meals and in-flight entertainment. Those are two things you won’t get on a one-hour trip to the edge of the Earth. But we bet it has a better view from the window seat.