Flying to the Moon is no longer a Dream
British billionaire Richard Branson, unveiled the Spaceport America in a remote patch of desert in Southern New Mexcio on 17th October, 2011 which created history worldwide. Here, Branson was joined by Governor Susana Martinez, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin & 150 individuals who had already commited on flying to the moon.
Functioning under Virgin Galactic the cost of a return ticket on the “Space Ship 2” would be approximately Rs 1,04,00,000 with refundable deposits starting from Rs10,40,000. The price seemed extravagant but 450 people had already purchased tickets to fly to the moon. Prior to the flight take off there is ‘Pre-Flight Experience Program’, including three days of pre-flight preparations onsite at the spaceport itself, which is to ensure the mental and physical ability of the passengers who are about to fly. This program is very important from the management point of view to gauge the passenger to prevent any emergencies while in space.
Therefore, it is made sure that appropriate training is provided in this program which enables the individual to handle oneself on the journey & what precautions are to be taken once on the space ship. The Spaceport will consist of hangars for the Virgin Galactic Spacecraft, mission control rooms & preparation area for travelers which would include instruction & safety modules. It was in 2006 where the Virgin Galactic & New Mexico Officials reached an agreement to build the $209 million terminal, which would open a gateway for individuals to achieve their space visit dream.
The Space Ship 2 will carry 6 passengers and 2 pilots where each passenger gets the same seating area with 2 large windows provided for the estatic view in space. Once in zero gravity, the space ship is 60ft long with a 90in diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float. After reaching an altitude of 50,000ft, the rocket engine ignites and the White Knight 2 launches the Space Ship 2 into space. The launchpad area for this operation is the Karman Line (Boundary of the Earth’s Atmosphere) where no human on the flight is just a passenger, he evolves into a Astronaut and lives every common man’s dream to fly to the moon. The entire journey of the Spaceship lasts approximately 3.5 hours as the acceleration is approximately 3,000mph.
For future operations, Virgin Galactic has ordered five spacecrafts that can take six passengers into sub-orbital flight, about 110km above the earth’s surface at a time. These spacecrafts are being constructed by Scaled Composites, who won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 for sending aircraft into sub-orbital space. The founder of these sub-orbital aircrafts, Burt Rutan remarked that the aircraft business models & design took a lot more time than he expected. This was because there were many safety measures which were to be taken into consideration & constructing every part of the aircraft had to be done with sheer excellence. Keeping various statistics in mind it was made sure that that the commercial flights would start from the Spaceport only once successful tests and a high level of security was achieved.
The visionary of Sir Richard extends to having 40 aircrafts with a seating capacity of Six & at a frequency of 2 flights daily.Branson’s idea to fly people to the moon, needed steel determination to do something never before & explore Inter-orbital travelling on a large scale. Virgin Galactic’s sleek spacecraft can be done by the end of 2012 to commence suborbital flights from the spaceport soon after. Branson had once predicted that the first passenger space flight would take off in 2007, thought the question yet remains that when will the dream of 450 passengers come alive.