The future of Virgin Galactic transorbital flights: 45 minutes from London to New York, an hour and a half from London to Sydney

    With all due respect to Elon Musk, he is not the only businessman who was going to conquer space to private capital. Cheerless Richard Branson on Monday presented the New York Museum of Natural History Planetarium at the Virgin Disruptors (Virgin Destroyers) event his vision of long-distance flights of the future - not as long as flying to Mars, but still through outer space.

    The head of Virgin Galactic George Whitesides said that space will play a decisive role in commercial flights in the future. The idea that he voiced consists in suborbital flights - i.e. with a rise to a height of at least 80-100 km above the surface of the Earth.

    “Imagine a SpaceShipThree or SpaceShipFour (the current model of the Virgin Galactic aircraft - SpaceShiptwo - approx. Per.)“Going beyond the atmosphere, then descending back down and landing away from the cities.”

    Illustration from a Spaceport Associates study

    A video was shown in the presentation, in which a real Virgin plane allegedly takes off from the surface of the earth, and then, when it reaches a certain height, it separates from it the central part, which already goes into suborbital flight.

    Branson himself said that despite numerous delays and cancellations, now the company’s business is in strict accordance with the plan.

    Not everything is so rosy

    Richard Branson already expressed interest in supersonic flights. In 2003, Virgin offered British Airways five million pounds for 5 concords in working condition, but the deal did not take place then.

    This idea attracted the European Space Agency (ESA), researching high-altitude high-speed transport. However, before such a system works, the ESA warns, there is much research ahead of the commercial and physical viability of the idea.

    Existing medical research must be reviewed from the point of view of an ordinary passenger who does not have astronaut training in order to establish a comfortable load limit.

    If these problems can be overcome, then Virgin Galactic will be able to become a pioneer of a new type of commercial transportation, says Whiteside.

    However, the commercial part of Virgin Galactic’s idea is still a bit like a business plan: the executive director of the research company Spaceport Associates draws attention to the fact that it’s not yet clear whether suborbital flights will play a transport role, or will they remain entertainment for tourists? How many people are willing to overpay hundreds of thousands of dollars to save twelve hours of traditional intercontinental flights? Serious market research has not yet been - at least, published. The price of such flights is unknown. The design of future aircraft is not defined, ground infrastructure is not ready.

    PS A little reminder of Branson's eccentricity: the gray goose vodka was the sponsor of the presentation at the New York planetarium(Gray Goose), the partnership with which was announced there. This partnership will be in favor of the Virgin Galactics space program, but it will mainly consist in organizing Gray Goose "space" parties.

    Vodka and space travel? It reminds me of something.

    based on materials: branson-the-space-obsessed-billionaire-talks-rockets-and-vodka

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