British billionaire Richard Branson finally arrived in space on Sunday.
The Virgin Galactic spacecraft, VSS Unity, landed safely in New Mexico after taking off more than 50 miles above the ground (80.4 kilometers) in its long-awaited first test flight fully manned. You can watch a live video of the company YouTube channel.
“We are here to make the space more accessible to everyone,” the founder of Virgin Galactic said shortly after the flight landed. “If you’ve ever dreamed a dream, now is the time to make it happen. I would like to finally say welcome at the dawn of the new space age. ”
The launch began at 10:30 a.m. CET, 90 minutes late from the originally scheduled time thanks to strong winds the previous night he had disrupted ground operations. The aircraft carrier Virgin Galactic VMS Eve (named after Branson’s late mother) dragged VSS Unity to its launch point at an altitude of about 15,240 meters. After the separation, the spacecraft ignited its own hybrid rocket engine and soared to an altitude of 86.1 kilometers, before sliding back to the runway to the America space airport, Virgin Galactic said in news.
At the height of the flight, the crew, which together with Branson consisted of two pilots and three mission specialists, experienced a few minutes of weightlessness.
“I was once a child with a dream staring at the stars,” Branson said during the show as his teammates could be seen hovering behind him and celebrating. “I am now an adult in a spaceship … looking towards our beautiful, beautiful Earth. To the next generation of dreamers: If we can do it, just imagine what you can do. “
About an hour of flight represents a major milestone for Virgin Galactic, which aims to begin commercial operations as early as next year. Excitement was shared by other billionaires, ambitious astronauts. Branson burst photo with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk ahead of Sunday’s launch, which is already bought a ticket for his own space travel by Virgin Galactic plane. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who will travel into space on July 20 on the New Origin Shepard, congratulated Branson and associates. on Instagram for a successful flight, adding, “I can’t wait to join the club!”
Virgin Galactic also offers a chance to anyone to win the trip with their spaceship. Upon his return to Earth on Sunday, Branson announced a partnership with the Omaza Charitable Fund open the sweepstakes which will send the winner and one guest to VSS Unity space for free. If you tried to buy tickets for the same flight, it would cost you about half a million dollars, because they cost about 250,000 dollars for a pop. The winner will also receive a tour of America’s space airport led by Branson himself. The sweepstakes, which runs through Sept. 1, will raise money for Space for Humanity, a nonprofit organization working to democratize space travel.