Virgin Galactic will send its first fee-paying civilian to the edge of space on Thursday.
- The experience
- The passengers
- How to watch
The company will live stream the flight from launch to landing and below you can find out how to watch.
A flight with Virgin Galactic starts and finishes at Spaceport America in New Mexico and lasts about 70 minutes. The trip begins with the passengers traveling aboard the VSS Unity plane, which itself is carried to 50,000 feet by another aircraft, VMS Eve.
At this altitude, Eve releases Unity, which immediately fires up its rocket to blast the aircraft to about 282,000 feet (53.4 miles/86 km), around 9 miles short of the Kármán line, which is widely regarded as the point where space begins. There, the passengers can climb out of their seats to experience a few minutes of weightlessness, and peering out of the plane’s windows will give them unforgettable views of Earth. A short while later, the passengers return to their seats for the flight home, which finishes with a conventional runway landing.
The first civilian passenger to pay their way onto Virgin Galactic’s rocket-powered space tourism plane is Brit Jon Goodwin, a former Olympic canoeist who bought his $250,000 ticket for the adventure in 2005.
Since then, 80-year-old Goodwin has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but he said recently he’s “determined not to let it stand in the way of living life to the fullest,” adding: “I hope this inspires all others facing adversity and shows them that challenges don’t have to inhibit or stop them from pursuing their dreams.”
Traveling alongside Goodwin will be Antiguan Keisha Schahaff, who won a pair of tickets in a raffle organized by Virgin Galactic. Schahaff picked her daughter Anastatia Mayers as her companion for the one-off experience. The pair will be the first mother and daughter to travel to the edge of space together, and also the first people from the Caribbean to make such a trip.
Thursday’s flight will be Virgin Galactic’s second commercial trip and its first involving civilian passengers. Hundreds of people have already bought tickets for the flight, with Virgin Galactic hoping to launch a regular commercial service in the near future.
How to watch
Virgin Galactic’s live stream will start at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) on Thursday, August 10, though the timings could change according to weather changes and technical checks. Be sure to check its social media feeds on the day for the latest updates to the schedule.
You can watch the entire mission via the player embedded at the top of this page, or by visiting Virgin Galactic’s YouTube channel, which will carry the same feed.
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