Which thought would first pop into your mind when you look at the sky – “wow, it looks so beautiful”, or “I wish I could see the moon and stars more closely”?? For most people, it's the latter.
Almost everyone dreams of going to space someday, but only a few daring ones follow that dream. Unsurprisingly, billionaires and business magnates top the list of such achievers. Recently, Richard Branson traded that path.
On July 11, 2021, Richard Branson went to the edge of space on Virgin Galactic's supersonic jet-plane, Virgin Spaceship Unity (VSS Unity). He became a part of the company's 22nd test flight with three other crewmates and two pilots.
How does VSS Unity work?
Being a sub-orbital plane, the VSS Unity isn't capable of reaching space by itself. It needs to be launched by a powerful carrier to encircle the Earth smoothly. And that's where Virgin Mothership Eve (VMS Eve) comes into play. The VMS Eve takes Unity to a height of 50,000 ft. and then releases it. From there, Unity starts its engine and takes around 63 seconds to reach space 55 miles up. Later, it glides down and stops at the same runway from where it took off.
How many seats and what's the cost?
As per reports, Unity has eight seats – two for pilots and six for crew members – and the price of one seat is around $250,000. Yeah, it's a lot, but then it's space travel, not a train journey to the next city!
Also, currently, you can't grab Unity's tickets because the company has already sold 600 tickets, and until it fulfills those commitments, it's not selling anymore.
How does Unity look from the inside?
Designed with traveler's comfort in mind, the inside of Unity flaunts reclining seats that help travelers survive the pressure of G-forces and allow them to move across the cabin with ease. Since they come with attached screens, they also keep the passengers posted with real-time relevant flight data.
If you think that’s the only cool thing in the space-plane, well think again! The Unity even incorporates 12 cabin windows for magical views of outer space. It also has 16 cameras and a large mirror for passengers to see themselves move around.
What does a Unity crew member’s spacesuit look like?
Unity crew members’ spacesuits are unlike usual astronauts’ heavy spacesuits.
Designed by Under Armour, they weigh only about a kilogram but tick all the necessary boxes. Not only are they strong enough to cope with G-forces, but also comfortable and relaxing. Plus, they also have push-to-talk buttons.
Now that you know every tiny bit about Unity, what do you say to a quick tour?