By Dr. NV Palkar, Anesthesiologist, Florida, USA.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has cleared all the official hurdles. They now have clearance from the Federal Aviation Authorities ( FAA), the US Air-force and local government officials for commercial space flights.
Virgin Galactic has also cleared all the technical hurdles. They have successfully flown and landed several times using their rocket-plane into space and back to start taking passengers!
Sir Richard Branson himself is going to fly on one of them!
Unlike Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin, which are ‘rockets’ and they take off vertically from a launch pad and land vertically back on a launchpad, Branson’s Virgin Galactic is a rocket plane.
A special plane built for this purpose, White Knight Two, will carry the spacecraft, VSS Unity on it.
White Knight Two will have VSS Unity riding on it. It will take off like a plane from the runway in Spaceport, Branson has an airfield created for this is called Spaceport America in New Mexico, which is their main commercial hub. Then, at an altitude of 50,000 feet, it will release Unity.
Unity will then blast off from there like a rocket and go into space and then return on its own to the ground and land on the runway. This is a unique design and has successfully completed many test missions.
It is a six-passenger and two pilot aircraft. But, the pilots maneuver the rocket plane into the stratosphere and also bring it back to land on the runway.
The first such mission is expected to happen soon and several thousand people have already booked their tickets!
Like I keep saying, we’ve barely scratched the surface here and there is a goldmine to dig into in this area of human adventure!
More is yet to come. Let’s digest this first.
As I said, White Knight Two will release VSS Unity at 50,000 feet, which will then blast off into space!
What a marvellous design. The sky is not the limit! 50,000 feet altitude is also the same altitudes at which supersonic aeroplanes fly. The air is so thin here that you can fly at any speed. It is also very easy for a rocket to blast off from this altitude because of low gravity and low air resistance that it can climb into space with ease and less fuel!
The official permits and licenses were granted to Sir Richard Branson on June 25.
Sir Richard Branson lives on a private island just off the east coast of Florida. He owns the island.
The only people who live on the island are the people who work for him and take care of his property—people who look after his house, tennis courts, golf course and the island. He also has an airport and a seaport. The people that work in these facilities are also his employees and live on the island. He also has his own private police force and coastguards that protect the island.
When Obama finished his presidency, he flew straight from the White House to this island to spend two weeks with Branson on his private vacation!
(The writer’s first name is Shashi)
( Only the headlines and photos may have been reworked by the staff of hubliexpress.com)