Virgin Galactic Plans Space Hotels, Day Trips to the Moon
The suborbital space firm has audacious plans for orbit, although experts debate their current feasibility
Fancy a day’s outing skimming above the moon’s surface in a private two-person spaceship? If you’re staying at a future space hotel planned by Virgin Galactic, that may be an option.
In a speech to Virgin Galactic customers on September 27, the company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, outlined these plans and more for the future of his commercial space fleet. “Using small, purpose-built, two-man spaceships based at space hotels our guests will be able to take breathtaking day trips programmed to fly a couple of hundred feet above of the moon’s surface,” Branson said. “They will be able to take in with their own eyes awe-inspiring views of mountains, craters and vast dry seas below.”
The plans are certainly audacious for a company that has yet to fly a customer to space. Still, more than 500 people have already paid deposits toward the $200,000 trips soon to be offered aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo vehicle. These journeys will reach a peak altitude of 110 kilometers—just over the 100-kilometer height considered to mark the beginning of space—and will be suborbital flights, which return to the ground before making a full orbit of Earth.
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