Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic wants to take long-haul air travel above the atmosphere

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This article was previously published on Future Travel Experience

By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience

Over the next year or so, commercial travel will be revolutionised when Virgin Galactic launches the first ever space tourism flight, which has so far been nine years in the making. While it is initially only available to those rich enough to afford a USD 250,000 ticket, the company is keen to bring space travel to the masses and aims to offer a passenger experience far exceeding anything that has been offered before.

Ranging from the flight preparations that all passengers – or astronauts – must undertake, to the geography lesson they receive to allow them to fully appreciate the spectacular sights, to the design of the spaceship interior, every aspect of the customer journey has been intricately planned to ensure it exceeds all expectations. “Unlike commercial air travel, the flight is the experience,” Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Director, told Future Travel Experience. “It’s a much more intense and uplifting experience.”

Preparing for the space travel experience
While air travellers often arrive at an airport unsure of what to do or where to go, the experience for the first batch of commercial space tourists will be very different. Attenborough said: “We spend three days with the future astronauts in New Mexico before the flight to prepare them for the sensory overload, free them from any anxiety, and make sure they are well informed, safe and ready to enjoy the flight.”

Before take-off, there will be no long queues or last-minute checks, just a journey down a long escalator and a walk through a friends and family area, before taking a seat on the groundbreaking SpaceShipTwo. The flight itself will be like something from a Hollywood movie. After a calm take-off and a cruise up to 50,000 feet, the spaceship will be released from its carrier and, according to Attenborough, “the astronaut presses a button and everything changes very quickly.” Read full article »