To the next generation of dreamers: if we can do this, just imagine what you can do.Sir Richard Branson on his first space flight traveling on an aircraft he helped invent.
Billionaire and founder of Virgin Galactic became the first high-profile business leader/space enthusiast to launch himself into space on an aircraft he helped create; Branson says flights like this will revolutionize space travel for future generations.
Context: An “average” airplane flies around 30-38,000 feet in the sky; Branson’s craft went more than 280,000 feet high (roughly 53 miles) or approximately 9 times as high.
Why This Matters: Several reasons – here are two important ones:
- The successful flight shows the possibility of suborbital travel (getting just barely into space to experience weightlessness from loss of gravity before heading back toward Earth a few moments later; the flight’s velocity isn’t fast enough to maintain orbit). This travel presents an interesting new business model for Virgin Galactic (and others), selling $250,000 seats for a roughly 15-minute flight.
- Branson becomes the first global business leader to essentially “walk the walk” in this field, risking his life to show his product works and has potential; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will attempt something similar in a little over a week.
Fun historic fact: The Associated Press mentioned the flight lasted about as long as the very first U.S. astronaut space flight (roughly 15 minutes) – 8 years after that 1961 flight, America put the first man on the moon. Branson says his mission is about making space travel more available for his grandchildren (you can read more of his thoughts HERE). What will this travel look like in the next decade?
by Jenna Lee,