Where governments fail, capitalism will succeed!
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has successfully tested his new manned spacecraft, which carried out its second test flight, breaking the sound barrier and climbing higher than all records. The “SpaceShipTwo” (SS2) reached an altitude of 46,000 feet before the craft’s rocket motor engaged, propelling SS2 to 69,000 feet above earth.
Sir Richard said: ‘It was particularly thrilling to see for the first time today the whole elegant system in action during a single flight, including the remarkable feathering re-entry system. Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, added: ‘Each powered flight of SpaceShipTwo yields cumulative progress that builds the foundation for safe and exciting commercial space flights.’ The company said it is on track to launch its commercial service in 2014.
The United States government has given up on space flight in recent years. Now the lone superpower relies on piggybacking astronauts from Russian launches, and is auctioning off their Apollo era launchpads to commercial parties. NASA has been shifting focus to more defense-related initiatives, using satellites to identify possible asteroid threats to Earth. All this has cleared the way for the private market to finally have a chance to step in and create a marketplace for travel to the stars.
529 people have reportedly signed up for the first commercial space flight, including Ashton Kutcher, who would be paying nearly $200,000 for the two-hour ride.