Today is a really important day for spaceflight. Virgin Galactic will be the first space company to launch a manned mission with a private citizen. Today they are sending their founder Richard Branson to the stars.

Branson has been betting on the booming space tourism industry for a very long time and wants to get the business going with this flight. In doing so, he also hopes to outdo Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, who are working on similar missions.

Together with five employees of the company, the Briton will take off from New Mexicos for a test flight to the edge of space.

 

Virgin Galactic will broadcast the launch starting at 4:30 p.m. both on its website and on its YouTube channel:

Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane, named Unity, will lift off on a specially designed dual-engine aircraft and release when it reaches an altitude of nearly 15,000 meters. The rocket engines will then ignite, sending the spacecraft high into space.

After Branson’s hopefully successful launch, Virgin Galactic plans two more test flights this summer and fall before letting private customers on board. So far, the space company says, there are more than 600 confirmed ticket holders waiting for such a flight. A ticket costs an average of $250,000.

 

Post Picture: Virgin Galactic

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