“My mission statement, which I wrote inside my spacesuit, is to turn the dream of space travel into a reality - for my grandchildren, for your grandchildren, for everyone.”- Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group which is one of the world’s most irresistible brands and has expanded into many diverse sectors from travel to telecommunications, health to banking and music to leisure.
Imagine the future of traveling to space is just like any ordinary travel you want to have around the world. What does it sound like? Well, with all the advanced technologies and brilliant minds, the invention has its perfect revolution. The 11th of July 2021 marks the historical moment in the world’s space travel history because Richard Branson and his crew returned to earth as astronauts as they arrived at Spaceport America ready to embark on a life-changing journey.
Virgin Galactic announced that VSS Unity successfully reached space, completing the Company’s fourth rocket-powered spaceflight. “Having flown to space, I can see even more clearly how Virgin Galactic is the spaceline for Earth. We are here to make space more accessible to all and turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today and tomorrow” he said.
The amazing spaceflight of Virgin Galactic involves a unique combination of revolutionary design innovations that make it like no other vehicle has ever done before. Let’s dive into their innovations.
The Air Launch Innovation - Nearly all rockets you see make a loud and rough vertical launch from the ground and it requires a huge amount of energy to enable the vehicle a static start and propel it through the thickest part of the atmosphere of the Earth. Alternatively, Virgin Galactic spaceflight kicks off with a smooth runway take-off, similar to a conventional commercial airliner. The spaceship is attached to a mothership(VMS Eve) that gracefully ascends to the launch altitude of around 50,000 feet, passing the thickest part of the Earth’s atmosphere, making it more energy-efficient and more comfortable for the passengers inside. When it has reached the launch altitude of the location, mission control provides clearance for release. The pilot then activates the launch and sets the spaceship(VSS Unity) free and within seconds, the rocket motor ignites as the vehicle starts to rapidly itself towards the stars. The spaceship speeds up three times to the speed of sound and out the window, the passengers will watch the color change from blue to indigo as they soar into space.
Once the rocket motor shuts down, passengers will unbuckle their seatbelts and float effortlessly around the cabin, enjoying the childlike freedom of zero gravity. The cabin becomes a spacious playground and passengers experience space firsthand helmet-free. The ship has a breathtaking seventeen windows in which passengers cannot resist being drawn towards the inarguable elated planet Earth that looks right back at them. While enjoying its ethereal beauty, the vehicle is getting ready for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere utilizing the second design innovation of the Virgin Galactic Space System,
The Feather Innovation - Reentry is the most challenging aspect of space travel and it has largely been approached in two ways with winged vehicles or with capsule spacecraft. This revolutionary aspect of Virgin Galactic, enables the vehicle to act like a winged vehicle when it is designed as a winged vehicle and then behaves as a capsule when a capsule design gives you the advantage. On the way to space, the spaceship folds in half with a boom moving upwards to a 60-degree position as the pilot prepares the vehicle for a sophisticated backflip. It points the windows straight back towards the earth that allows passengers to experience breathtaking views. This maneuver also allows the vehicle to behave like a capsule on reentry. Spreading the friction heat generated from reentering the earth's atmosphere across the entire underside of the spaceship and aerodynamically enabling it to reliant itself from any position once the ship had slowed down and started to travel through the thicker part of the earth’s atmosphere. Where a winged vehicle is advantageous from maneuverability, the boom comes back down from the feather position and the spaceship gently glides back home safely and smoothly ensuring the thrilling yet comfortable ride for those onboard and landing on the same runway that features an extraordinary design of an out of this world experience.
According to Richard Branson, it’s a thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all with an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality. As part of a remarkable crew of mission specialists, he is honored to help validate the journey future astronauts will undertake and ensures they deliver the unique customer experience people expect from Virgin.
Along with him are the pilots, Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci flying VSS Unity, and CJ Sturckow and Kelly Latimer flying VMS Eve. He’s with mission crew specialists, Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor: Colin Bennet, Lead Operations Engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations.
They’ve all just had the most extraordinary experience and they want you all to have it too. And with that, they have some news!
Virgin Galactic is thrilled to announce that they have partnered with Omaze to open space for everyone. You can go to Omaze.com/space to enter now. Every charitable donation goes to support Space For Humanity and you'll be entered into the Omaze sweepstake for the chance to win two seats aboard one of the first commercial Virgin Galactic space flights, and a guided tour of Spaceport America given by him.
“Imagine a world where people of all ages and backgrounds, from anywhere, of any gender, of any ethnicity have equal access to space. They will, in turn, inspire us all back here on Earth. If you’ve ever had a dream, now is the time to make it come true. Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.” he closes on his speech minutes after he came back from his remarkable journey in space.