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Travel video of the week: Virgin Galactic tourism spaceship

Virgin Galactic’s tourism rocket ship climbed more than 80 km above Earth, reaching for the first time what many consider the boundary of space. The company considers this a “huge step forward” in making commercial space tourism a reality.
YouTube video
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Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. Hold those celebrations! Do not pop those champagne corks yet! There is a lot of controversy over where space begins.

    The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale which is usually perceived as the governing authority for aeronautics and astronautics puts the beginning of space at 100km. This is also sometimes called the Kármán line. It is named after the scientist who calculated that aerodynamic lift was impossible at higher levels without attaining orbital velocity.

    So,maybe Mr Branson needs to reach that 100km mark. We don’t want an embarrassing Trade Descriptions Act case on this one. If I were paying $250,000 I wouldn’t want any doubt lingering over whether I had actually made it into space.

  2. I just find it mind-blowing that 600 people have paid their $250,000 without any guarantee of when they are going to take-off. That’s a lot of folks with a lot of loose change to spare.

  3. I just don’t get it. Why pay silly money for a ridiculously short flight?

    Just think of the adventures you could have with that wodge of cash. You could do safaris. Stay in luxury resorts. Do some great diving. And they would be a challenge for you. Not just sitting there whilst some pilot takes you up to 80 km.

    You could probably climb Everest two or three times for that sort of money.

    1. Sadly, I’ve not got that sort of money myself. Yet I can sort of understand people wanting to reach space, wherever that may start. Being up there looking down on the planet would be quite a thrill. And being one of the first people to do it commercially would be rather special. Though I worry that some people will just be doing it as a snob thing to show off how much money that they’ve got.

  4. From a business perspective the pricing aspect of this troubled me. How can Virgin Galatic put a price on these flights when they are so far away from being operational?

    We may be years and billions of dollars away from the first commercial flights. Possibly $250,000 per ticket may be no where near adequate to recoup the Research and Development costs. Alternatively, the price may more than adequately cover costs and the company may be able to skim off the cream of the market, at an exorbitant price, though that is probably unlikely given the delays and difficulties.

    I just hope that Virgin Atlantic passengers don’t end up subsidising this project.

  5. This is epic, history-making. If I had the money I’d go for it. It’s an adventure that you’d remember for the rest of your life.

  6. Oh wow, I’ve never seen this before! It’s mind boggling how science and technology are advancing the ways we travel and explore not only the world but the universe. The fourth test sounds like a great success, 82km above earth is very impressive. It’s not surprising so many have already bought tickets, but at that price it’s definitely a luxury reserved for those with plenty of financial reserves. Although they said they can’t give a date as to when people could think of taking this journey themselves, it’s hard not to see this and wonder how long it will be before space tourism literally ‘takes off’.

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