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The world’s richest people want to be tourists…in Space!6 min read

July 12, 2021 5 min read


The world’s richest people want to be tourists…in Space!6 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Richard Branson reaches space in his Virgin Galactic passenger rocket
Richard Branson. Image: CNN

After 17 years of work from a hardworking team and a lifelong dream, the billionaire Richard Branson was ejected into space. Well, on the morning of the 11th of July, he ejected himself into space. Now, he’s back and officially one of the world’s first commercial space tourists. So, did the man make history? And what’s the point of all this. Let’s find out.

Who is Richard Branson?

Richard Branson. Image: AP

Before we get into the details of his trip, meet the man who planned it. Richard Branson is a successful billionaire businessman and the owner of the Virgin group of companies. These include airlines, shipping companies and now a space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, that already has over six hundred clients!

Richard Branson hasn’t always been as successful as he seemed a day ago when he became the world’s first private space tourist. Several of Branson’s companies have failed, and others have gone bankrupt.

However, Branson and his fighting spirit never seem to give up.

The trip into space

Unity 22 Crew
The crew that took the Unity 22 spaceflight. Image: Forbes

Branson went to space in his own company’s rocket. Virgin Galactic, his space travel company, launched two pilots and three Virgin employees (including Branson) into space.

Unlike the usual space capsule and rocket, Branson’s flight launched off in aircraft in the sky. The Aircraft VSS Eve carried Branson and his crew to a certain height from where the rocket VSS Unity took off. VSS unity then slowly floated back to Earth. Its mechanism was much like the shuttlecocks that you use in a game of Badminton.

Listen to Branson’s message from space below:

The entire ride lasted an hour, with the actual Space flight lasting about 15 minutes. The crew was able to be in zero-gravity for about four minutes. They could all float around and look down and marvel at planet Earth.

Billionaire Richard Branson reaches space in his own ship | Technology  News,The Indian Express
Crew members and Branson enjoy the marvels of zero-gravity. The Indian Express.
Indian-origin aeronautical engineer Shirisha Bandla set to fly into space  on Virgin Galactic spacecraft | India – Gulf News
Sirisha Bandla. Image: Gulf News

There was an Indian on-board! An Indian origin woman, Sirisha Bandla, became the third person with Indian roots to fly into space.

Can you name the first two Indian Astronauts? Look for the answer at the bottom of the article.

Some people have compared the flight to a fancy and expensive amusement park ride. Meanwhile, others believe that this is a huge step for humankind. What do you think?

The race to space

Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk (L-R). Image: Daily Mail

Branson isn’t the only billionaire who is trying to conquer space. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and Elon Musk, the eccentric owner of Tesla and SpaceX, also want to take a leisurely trip into space. And what’s more, is that they all want to sell tickets too.

Elon Musk has already bought a ticket on one of Virgin Galactic’s next space flights for tourists.

Click on this image to learn all about Jeff Bezos’ expedition to space next week.

Compare the three flights to find out what makes the experience that these three companies provide different from one another. Make sure you make an informed decision before you shell out your millions.

A brief comparison

SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy

The billionaire behind it: Jeff Bezos
Name of the Rocket: New Shepard
Name of the Company: Blue Origin
The date that the first flight takes off: The 20th of July, 2021
Duration of the flight: 11 minutes
Cost of a ticket: TBD
Height achieved: 100km above sea level (many people consider the beginning of space to be at the Karman line, which is 100km over the sea level)
Type of rocket: Reusable rocket

Branson Beats Jeff Bezos to Space, Aiming to Open Space Tourism - The New  York Times

The billionaire behind it: Richard Branson
Name of the Rocket: VSS Unity
Name of the Company: Virgin Galactic
The date that the first flight takes off: The 11th of July, 2021
Duration of the flight: 15 minutes
Cost of a ticket: 200,000 US dollars or about 1 and a half crore rupees!!
Height achieved: 85km above sea level (many people consider the beginning of space to be at the Karman line, which is 100km over the sea level)
Type of rocket: Airplane + Rocket

Blue Origin Probably Won't Launch People to Space This Year | Space

The billionaire behind it: Elon Musk
Name of the Rocket: Starship
Name of the Company: SpaceX
The date that the first flight takes off: September 2021
Duration of the flight: TBD
Cost of a ticket: TBD
Height achieved: Into Orbit (further into space than the other two)
Type of rocket: Reusable Rocket

Even though these three men will be the first Space Tourists on privately owned spacecrafts, other millionaires and billionaires have made the trip on government vessels.

Answer Key:
Kalpana Chawla
Sunita Wiliams

With Excerpts From: The New York Times, The Print, Forbes, Forbes, Livemint, The Indian Express, The Hindu, and Scroll.

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