Virgin Galactic hopes to use its spacecraft for intercontinental flights
Virgin Galactic is already very close to launching its first commercial space flight. All tests of the company's spacecraft were successful, so there seems to be no obstacles to the implementation of these plans. In addition to space, Virgin Galactic leadership hopes to use its own shuttles to carry out intercontinental flights for ordinary, not space passengers. In general, the idea is far from new, however, only now this idea is close to implementation.
Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Director, said that such flights will be much faster than a regular flight. So, from London to Australia, a passenger can get in just 2.5 hours (instead of 13 hours, on average, for a traditional air flight). A new type of flight will occur by going out into near-Earth space, and then descending to a given point. Thus, the flight time is really reduced several times.
In addition, according to Attenborough, such flights will be less harmful to the environment than regular flights, since most of the journey will take place in near-Earth space, and the “exhaust” will remain there. Of course, this is a controversial issue, since rocket fuel in its composition is very different from aviation fuel, and indeed “exhaust”, it will still partially remain in the atmosphere. Nevertheless, this problem is quite possible to study and make a decision, having on hand all the data on the current space missions of the space shuttle from Virgin Galactic.
Unfortunately, Attenborough did not give a date for such a flight. It goes without saying that such flights, in any case, at the very beginning, will be very expensive, especially considering that the Spaceship Two accommodates only six passengers. But it may well be that, subject to the commercial success of such flights, the flight price will be reduced, and the number of shuttles will be increased.
So far, a space ticket for Spaceship Two passengers costs $ 250,000, so you should be guided by this price when calculating the price of a two-hour flight from London to Melbourne.