Skip to main content

Virgin Galactic video offers detailed look at its space tourism ride

Virgin Galactic has released a new video showing off its suborbital space tourism ride in greater detail than ever before.

The presentation landed on the same day that the company announced a new phase of ticket sales for its trip to the edge of space, with a single seat costing a hefty $450,000.

Related Videos
Virgin Galactic Spaceflight System

As the video shows, passengers flying to the edge of space with Virgin Galactic won’t begin their journey aboard a rocket, but instead, be flown to an altitude of 50,000 feet by a carrier aircraft while seated inside VSS Unity. Virgin Galactic trumpets its launch design as much smoother — and likely less stomach-churning — than a conventional rocket launch.

The carrier aircraft releases Unity once it reaches the required altitude. Seconds later, Unity will fire up its rocket engine, blasting the spaceplane and its six passengers toward the Kármán line, the point 62 miles above Earth generally regarded as the edge of space.

When the rocket motor shuts off, the passengers can unbuckle their seat belts and float around the cabin while enjoying the spectacular views of Earth far below.

The video also describes Virgin Galactic’s special “feather” technology that sees the spaceplane transform from a winged vehicle to a capsule vehicle for the start of its journey home, and then back to a winged vehicle for the final stages of the flight that ends with a runway landing.

Virgin Galactic performed a number of successful test flights last year that culminated in its first fully crewed mission, with Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and five others going along for the ride.

But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the company as one of its test planes crashed in 2014 with the loss of a pilot.

Eight years on, and with a number of redesigns to the hardware, Virgin Galactic is aiming to launch a commercial space tourism service before the end of this year. Around 600 people have already signed up following an earlier round of ticket sales. Now the company is hoping more wealthy individuals will spend close to half a million dollars for a 90-minute experience they’ll never forget.

Editors' Recommendations

Watch Volocopter fly first full-size version of its unique aircraft
volocopter volocity first full size version flight

Volocopter first flew onto our radar in 2017 when we learned of its extraordinary VoloCity aircraft, which in crude terms, looked like a bunch of drones welded together.

Some serious work has gone into the 18-rotor, vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft in the intervening years, and the German company has just released a video (below) showing the maiden flight of the first full-size prototype.

Read more
How to watch NASA’s first space tourism launch to the ISS today
The Ax-1 crew heading to the space station on April 6, 2022.

NASA is about to embark on its first space tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS), and you can watch the entire event as it happens.

Ax-1 Mission | Launch

Read more
Ax-1 space tourism mission to ISS needs good weather to launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launchpad ahead of NASA's first space tourism trip to the ISS.

NASA is about to send its first private astronauts -- also known as space tourists -- to the International Space Station.

Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy, American entrepreneur Larry Connor, and former Israeli Air Force pilot Eytan Stibbe have reportedly forked out an eye-watering $55 million each for the 10-day experience.

Read more