After Virgin Galactic’s successful space test flight, company founder Richard Branson is looking forward to the future — and it may come sooner than you think.
According to CBS News, Branson estimated that he will be able to take his first space flight “within the next six months” after his company, Virgin Galactic, completed a test flight to the edge of space on Thursday.
The rocket plane, SpaceShipTwo, was planned to reach an altitude of 50 miles, but exceeded its goal by reaching an altitude of 51.4 miles during the test flight, according to CBS. While this measurement for the edge of space is still up for debate, many authorities are considering it to be the actual distance to the line between space and the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Today, for the first time in history, a crewed spaceship, built to carry private passengers, reached space,” Branson said in a statement. After some more test flights, the company plans to move from the Mojave Desert to another site in New Mexico, where Branson expects to take his first flight.
“I'm itching to go,” Branson told CBS. After Branson takes flight, the company will start sending up astronauts.
The SpaceShipTwo will eventually be meant for commercial flights to space. The ship can accommodate up to six passengers plus two pilots, according to CBS. Of course, at first, tickets for these flights are currently valued at $250,000 a piece, The Washington Post reported.
So what about those of us who can’t exactly afford a six-figure ticket? Branson is optimistic about this as well.
“It's very similar to the 1920s with commercial flights across the Atlantic. It cost a very similar price to what we're spending today to put people into space. But over the years, the price of crossing the Atlantic came down and down and down, and if we can get enough spaceships built and flying, I'm really hopeful that a lot of people watching your program one day will be able to go to space,” Branson told CBS.
The company is mainly focused on safety as well as eventually making flights affordable in the future.
So, who knows, someday space flights may be a new vacation idea for all of us.