Sometime soon, thrill-seekers with the funds and the desire to plunk down $200K to experience four minutes of weightlessness more than 60 miles above the Earth will have the chance, thanks to Virgin CEO and astro-preneur Richard Branson.
The Washington Post:
“Obviously, we’d like to get the price down,” Branson said. Then again, the first customers are being assured that by buying early, they are claiming a place in history.
The first customers are largely aviation enthusiasts, said Matthew D. Upchurch, who owns a luxury travel agency in Fort Worth called Virtuoso.
“There’s this whole other wave of people who view travel as sort of a life-experience sort of thing,” said Upchurch, who paid in full. “Because you think of how whoever’s been into space says their life has been changed.”
The experience of seeing the Earth, and the fabled visible thinness of its atmosphere, also plays into eco-tourism, a current passion of wealthy travelers, he said.
Virgin Galactic flew more than 100 of its customers to the Mojave hangar from Los Angeles International on a spanking-new Virgin America Airbus, which was identified on its nose cone as: “My Other Ride Is A Spaceship.”
AP photo / Stefano Paltera
All about “Eve”: Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson, right, celebrates the unveiling of spacecraft White Knight Two, which he nicknamed “Eve,” after his mother, Eve Branson, left. The “mother ship” was debuted Monday at a hangar in Mojave, Calif.