Virgin Galactic is giving away two tickets for its spaceplane

midian182

Posts: 7,081   +62
Staff member
In brief: Would you love to look down on earth but can't afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars space tourism companies are charging? Virgin Galactic has a solution. Richard Branson's firm is giving away two seats on one of its first commercial spaceflights to lucky winners of a sweepstake.

Billionaire Virgin founder Branson recently beat Jeff Bezos in the race to leave earth by taking part in the Unity 22 mission that evaluated the Virgin Galactic Astronaut Experience, though Blue Origin claims its rival isn't actually reaching space.

The mission was the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including Branson, who reportedly got a visit from fellow space-farer Elon Musk at 3 am on the morning of the flight to wish him luck.

Normally these trips cost $250,000. That places them out of the reach of most people, but Branson has announced a sweepstake in partnership with fundraising platform Omaze that will see two tickets—for a winner and guest—given away.

While entry is free, a donation to the non-profit Space for Humanity charity increases your chances of winning: donate $10 for 100 entries, $25 gets you 250, $50 for 1,000, and $100 buys 2,000 entries.

Prize winners will also be flown out to Virgin Galactic's Spaceport America base in New Mexico—hotel stay included—and will be given a private tour by Branson himself. The trip will involve the VSS Unity being carried to an altitude of 50,000 feet by the double-bodied VMS Eve "mothership" aircraft. At that point, the spaceplane will release and blast to around 250,000 feet, offering views few people have ever seen and the chance to experience weightlessness.

One winner and their guest will be taking part in the experience sometime during early 2022. The competition closes on September 1, and the winner will be announced on September 29.

Permalink to story.

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,167   +6,925
It all sounds well and good but it's far too minimal, especially when they could have gone another 5 miles higher and sustained enough of an orbit to circle the earth 5-10 times so it would be truly memorable. Then it would be worthwhile although $250,000 a trip is going to be excessive for anyone that isn't making a million or more dollars a year. Hard to argue when they reportedly have 250 or more that have already ponied up that price still, the accomplishment should not be minimized, it is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment. I just know that at this point I won't be signing up for a ticket ..... LOL
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 527   +787
As far as I know, only Virgin Galactic employees have been on their own rocket planes so far, so it doesn't normally cost anything yet. Technically this giveaway flight is going to be one of their first (if not their first) commercial flight as admitted here (Virgin Galactic Announces First Fully Crewed Spaceflight), so what Virgin is really looking for is guinea pigs:
Virgin Galactic today announced that the flight window for the next rocket-powered test flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity opens July 11, pending weather and technical checks.
[...]
Following this flight, and in line with normal procedures, the team will complete inspections of the vehicles and an extensive data review, which will inform the next steps in the test flight program. Two additional test flights are planned before the Company expects to commence commercial service in 2022.
And the relevant quote from this article showing how it fits in this timeline:
One winner and their guest will be taking part in the experience sometime during early 2022.
 

DefaultD

Posts: 11   +15
50km up isn't impressive, fighter jets that cost less than $250K can reach 30km, and did. Hell, Mig 25 did it (in 1973)


These VA endeavors, while commendable, are nothing special, no breakthrough of any kind.

They went 53 miles up which is 85 km.
I appreciate the link to the flight altitude records.

Although, I don’t think they were trying to break a record— I mean astronauts have gone to the moon and back. It’s just another milestone on space travel becoming more attainable to people outside of state-sponsored space programs.
 

Ludak021

Posts: 526   +384
They went 53 miles up which is 85 km.
I appreciate the link to the flight altitude records.

Although, I don’t think they were trying to break a record— I mean astronauts have gone to the moon and back. It’s just another milestone on space travel becoming more attainable to people outside of state-sponsored space programs.
Well, it advances nothing. He spent tons of money for what?! For the same money (Ok, I don't know how much money but these are not small figures) Elon Mask managed to make reusable rockets and actually go to space, he could do what Virgin did easy. They do that when they test things.
This Virgin thing is a near space roller-coaster for rich people. And once they all go, he will have a useless tech.

that's my opinion anyway.
 

BobHome

Posts: 113   +47
It all sounds well and good but it's far too minimal, especially when they could have gone another 5 miles higher and sustained enough of an orbit to circle the earth 5-10 times so it would be truly memorable. Then it would be worthwhile although $250,000 a trip is going to be excessive for anyone that isn't making a million or more dollars a year. Hard to argue when they reportedly have 250 or more that have already ponied up that price still, the accomplishment should not be minimized, it is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment. I just know that at this point I won't be signing up for a ticket ..... LOL
I agree with your thinking, Uncle Al. I just wonder if there would be enough air for 6 people to go 5-10 orbits of our Earth.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,167   +6,925
I agree with your thinking, Uncle Al. I just wonder if there would be enough air for 6 people to go 5-10 orbits of our Earth.

You've made a good point, I'm only trying to say for that kind of cash you would think they could get it a bit higher .... even one complete orbit would be good and add give the customer a "real" space experience.