Have you ever wanted to travel to space? Well in 2007, Virgin Galactic LLC sold tickets to fly on their space craft. Tickets sold for $200,000, and have since increased to $250,000. In April 2013, SpaceShipTwo had its first rocket-powered test flight. The test was successful, and Virgin Galactic set their sights on space travel by the end of 2013.
While they weren’t successful in meeting this goal, due to technical issues, they have continued to develop their space crafts.
On October 31, 2014, Virgin Galactic launched another test flight in the Mojave Desert that ended in destruction.
Pilot Peter Siebold and co-pilot Michael Alsbury took the experimental prototype VSS Enterprise to the skies at 9:20 am on the 31st. Nine seconds after the vehicle broke off from the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, the movable tail surfaces of SpaceShipTwo deployed unexpectedly. In an article about the crash in the Wall Street Journal, Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said they “‘saw disintegration’ of the 60-foot-long experimental craft just two seconds after the malfunction.” The space craft crashed into the Mojave Desert, an area just 90 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
Co-pilot Michael Alsbury died in the crash, and pilot Peter Siebold was ejected from the aircraft, and suffered serious injuries. While much of the investigation is still ongoing, and the events of the morning remain unclear, Virgin Galactic LLC will continue to test spaceships, in an effort to progress space tourism.
In a statement following the October 31st crash, Virgin Galactic LLC acknowledged their loss of a great pilot, and likewise a great spaceship. They also addressed their continued efforts towards space travel. They said that “second SpaceShipTwo is already two-thirds complete.” With more than 700 tickets sold for their SpaceShipTwo flight into space, their resolve is still as strong as ever. They are eager to see their dreams come to fruition.
Would you risk your life to go to space? To live in an age where space travel is a possibility any one and every one, taking those risks is a key element to the progression of their success. If they are successful, Virgin Galactic LLC will be the trail-blazers for the future of travel. Space tourism seems like an obscure, expensive adventure, but to learn about our planet, and the entire solar system, could be the solution to many of our problems.