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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Digital Friday >>> A View from Space, Virgin Galactic Offers a Space Odyssey

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic offers a journey to space which will captivate travelers with astonishing views of earth and the chance to experience zero gravity.

The company has finally announced re-opening ticket sales for the first time in years with prices starting at $450,000 per ticket. Virgin Galactic have also announced that they will offer three packages for seat selection, single seat reservation, multiple seat reservation for family and friends or the option to reserve all six seats on the aircraft.

Despite the hefty price tag, there has been quite a turnout for the experience, according to Virgin Galactic’s vice president of communications Aleanna Crane almost a thousand people have already paid the $1000 deposit.

People who are eager to embark on a space voyage however might have to wait their turn, because 600 customers who purchased tickets for $200,000- $250,000 in the first batch of tickets released almost a decade ago, are already on the waiting list.

Virgin Galactic has had to face many challenges when developing their space plane for commercial use. They faced a tragic accident when one of their experimental flights, the VSS Enterprise, crashed and caused the death of one of the co-pilots. Since then, Virgin Galactic has teamed up with a new manufacturing firm and completely re-designed their aircraft. They have successfully tested the new “SpaceShipTwo” on four successful flights including Richard Branson’s last month.

The total flight time of SpaceShipTwo is an hour long and includes a few minutes where passengers will be able to experience total weightlessness and stunning views of earth before heading back down to a runway landing.

However, there are some issues regarding commercial space flight that cannot be ignored, such as the environmental impact of such journeys. Space tourism leaves a massive carbon footprint, and the rocket engines leave traces of gases on the upper atmosphere which contribute to ozone reduction. Future models of commercial space flights should aim to drastically reduce their carbon footprints, otherwise customers will be faced with an ethical dilemma as the price of their journey will not just be monetary, but will also include a substantial environmental one as well.

August 20 | 11:30 AM

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