Earlier this week Virgin Atlantic unveiled the first commercial passenger spaceship, a sleek black and white vessel that represents an expensive gamble on creating a commercial space tourism industry.
The spaceship is about the size of a minivan with wings and will take space tourists into zero gravity in about three years! The project has a $450 million budget to build six of the spaceships that would take passengers high enough to achieve weightlessness and see the curvature of Earth set against the backdrop of space.
A twin-hulled aircraft named Eve would carry Spaceship Two to an altitude of about 60,000 feet before releasing it. The spaceship would then fire its onboard rocket engines, climbing to about 65 miles above Earth. The trip would take about 2-1/2 hours, with passengers experiencing weightlessness for about five minutes.
The ride is expected to cost aspiring astronauts about $200,000, 300 people have already placed deposits. They will receive three days of training prior to taking the ride.
Eventually, Virgin Galactic, the offshoot of Virgin Atlantic, may offer suborbital travel that could dramatically cut the length of flights.