Space tourism made possible by Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic space space travel

Notes borrowed from Yahoo! News

Virgin Galactic, part of British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has sold some 200 tickets to passengers for suborbital flights, starting in 2008.

It has collected $15.6 million in deposits for the flights, a ticket for which costs $200,000. Virgin Group is building five spaceships and two airplanes by 2010 for the venture.

Travelers will take seats in a spaceship that will be attached to a separate airplane. Following takeoff, the spaceship detaches itself from the plane at an altitude of about 49,000 feet. It then enters suborbital space for about 15 minutes — including five minutes of weightlessness. After its journey into space — at 87 miles above Earth, it returns to the ground. The total flight-time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the voyages will initially launch from the Mojave Desert in Southern California before relocating to a permanent base in New Mexico in 2010.

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