Last month billionaires Jeffrey Bezos and Sir Richard Branson used their fortunes to venture into space via their Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic projects respectively. Both have called their flights an important step for those who dream of life off of Earth, but we are still some ways from that becoming a reality.
For now those wanting to “technically” become astronauts without the hassle of exhaustive training, can do so via Branson’s venture, with space tours on Virgin Galactic expected to kick off in Q3 of 2020. The starting prices for tickets on said space tours are a doozy too, with a seat onboard a flight starting from $450 000 (~R6.5 million).
The company explained how the re-opening of sales would happen during an investor’s call for Q2 results earlier this week.
“In the second quarter, we made meaningful progress towards commencing commercial service in 2022. We successfully completed two spaceflights from New Mexico — the latest carrying a full crew of mission specialists in the cabin and garnering an extraordinary global media and consumer response. In addition, we received FAA approval to expand our existing launch license, marking the first time the FAA has licensed a Spaceline to fly customers to space,” noted Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.
“Leveraging the surge in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today, beginning with our Spacefarer community. As we endeavor to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,” he adds.
With there likely to be plenty of interest in such space tours for people who have a lot of spare cash to burn, the fact that the rich and wealthy are venturing into space has proved divisive. One of the big talking points when Bezos and Branson completed their respective trips, was whether that time, energy and resources would have been better placed helping treat some of society’s issues and problems.
Given that we live in a capitalist society, there is really very little the common person can do to stop billionaires from spending their money as they wish.
Those who don’t have the necessary funds to venture, just like us, can watch the first fully crewed spaceflight made by Virgin Galactic below.