Jul 29

White Knight Two and Space Ship Two Virgin during Galactic flightWith all the ‘Dark Knight‘ propaganda these days, it’s refreshing to see another Knight coming along. Yesterday another step was taken to soon bring tourists into space. Not in a galaxy far far away, but here on our planet Earth.

Does that sound like Science Fiction to you? Jule Vernes anyone?

I would rather say so, if it wasn’t for entrepreneur Richard Branson behind it. He proved already during all his life, that one can fulfill his dreams, if you simply pursue them with enough determination. You can circumvent the globe in an Hot Air Balloon if you feel like it – right?

After making his buzz in the music industry, mobile communications and airlines business amongst others, his latest baby is Space Tourism.

It seems that a trip into the vast, black unknown is a reality soon to become true.

Spaceship Two IllustrationOn Monday, Richard Branson rolled out a futuristic aircraft, called White Knight Two (WK2), with a wing span of 43 meters, that could help ferry paying tourists into space. The ceremony took place in the Mohave desert, north of Los Angeles. The WK2 aircraft would act as a carrier or launch ship for Spaceship Two, which would then launch in midair from the jet-powered carrier.

The whole concept looks pretty futuristic and adventurous to me, but the first flights are already expected for September this year, with a maiden launch of Spaceship Two off the White Knight Two, scheduled for some time in 2009.

It could go into service as early as 2010!

The whole “spaceship” is entirely built of carbon composites and has 2 twin-fuselage engines by Pratt & Whitney.

Simply awesome!

Dennis Tito - the first private tourist in spaceThe company reports, that more than 200 passengers have already paid up for the first flight, which will costs something in the region of USD 200.000 per passenger. This is dramatically lower than the 20 odd millions of Dollars the first 5 wealthy space tourists paid to visit the International Space Stations, using Sojus spacecrafts of the Russian Space Agency.

Although still, for that amount of money, you can still live a while in a friendly location of your choice, so the offer will probably limited to a selected few for quite a while.

But isn’t it simply amazing, where tourists can go soon, where no (few) men have gone before?

Be it the highest mountain, the deepest seas or now space, the final frontier.

A question for our readers remains, though:

Would you do it, if you had the chance?

Let’s say, money wouldn’t be a problem. You had won the ticket in the lottery or else.

Would you go? And why (not)?

One thing I would sign up for sure, would be a shortened, yet affordable flight from Asia to Europe, or Americas to Asia though.

They could open space ports in big cities and lift you from one port to the other, thus shortening the annoying intercontinental flights from 12-16 hours to maybe 3-4, by flying through suborbital space around the planet. Something like a better Concord plane.

Maybe they don’t even need space ports, as the vehicle is starting and landing like a normal plane.

So far, all I can say is: its nice to be able to fulfill your dreams. When your dreams can benefit mankind its especially wonderful.

And yes – it would definitely give a complete new motivation to aspiring Mile High Club members. ;-)

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written by Chris

7 Responses to “Would you travel into Space?”

  1. The DudeNo Gravatar NEW ZEALAND Says:

    flying into space is sure a nice idea – but can you get up, stretch your legs and go to the toilet in this small plane? looks pretty tiny on this pictures.

  2. Holiday and Travel MattersNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Sounds interesting but not for me.

  3. Nomadic MattNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    I’d fly into space in a second! It’s the ultimate travel experience. you get to see the whole world at once!

  4. jermNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    i’ll go if you go, chris! >:)

  5. NiaNo Gravatar MEXICO Says:

    Hi Chris,
    Wow! What a feat! I like the message: one can fulfill his/her dreams, if one simply pursues them with enough determination.

    Presently I am working on pulling off a feat which for many probably doesn’t seem so daring.

    I’m in Mexico. I just completed my CELTA course and I am looking for work as an English as a Foreign Language teacher…without a university degree! Can I do it?

    Let’s say that there is one more maiden voyage scheduled for September…me in some aircraft back to Mexico or to Thailand or wherever to teach English.

  6. Mark HNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Wouldn’t hesitate to go if money was no object. I just hope it becomes much cheaper in my lifetime so I can get to go. Whata veiw of the earth you must get.

  7. JayNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    I can’t wait for the miles-high price to come down a bit.

    Although, I must admit that as an avid skydiver and surfer, a ride in a plane to earn a pair of wings just doesn’t sound thrilling. What does sound thrilling, however, is the notion of space diving.

    Imagine spacediving from a platform base just outside the atmosphere ensconsced only in your pressurized suit, HALO-style visor reflecting the sunlight from the coming sunrise as you truly step into the void and plummet back to terra firma. Skipping across the sky and coming down safetly under parachute. Now, that’s what I call thrilling. 65 kilometers up just isn’t enough. Space, as far as I know, is defined at 100 km above the Earth. I’m up for it. Anyone else?

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