Q: I’ve heard that a company is offering trips to space for non-astronauts. Is this true? And if so, how much does it cost and where do I sign up?
– Brian Birk, Ottawa, ON
A: Soon, what used to be a childhood dream for many, will turn into a reality–for those who can afford it.
The VSS Enterprise is a manned commercial spaceship, a first of its kind owned by Virgin Galactic and made by Scaled Composites. The vehicle fits six passenger astronauts and two pilot astronauts, and the cabin area is big enough for passengers to experience zero gravity once in suborbital flight.
Testing the (Outer Space) Waters
This past March, the VSS Enterprise took its first captive carry flight-a test flight where the spaceship portion of the aircraft doesn’t launch and detach. Going forward the spaceship portion will detach from the mothership taking passengers on a suborbital flight into zero gravity before gliding back to earth. The tests are currently ongoing.
At the current time a trip in to space aboard this commercial spaceship costs around $200,000 US dollars with deposits starting at $20,000. However, until all of the safety tests are complete, launch dates are not being released, except to those who have given a deposit.
Safety is always a concern when you are a party to new technology. There are a number of steps that need to be taken required by the government to ensure these spaceships are safe. For additional information on the spaceships, booking a seat on a flight and the safety of these vehicles visit www.virgingalactic.com.