If you’re rich and you’ve always wanted to go to space, but lacked the proper flight, military, science, mathematical, and naval training to become an astronaut, you’re in luck. Virgin Galactic’s futuristic space ship, the VSS (Virgin Space Ship) Enterprise has successfully completed its first manned test into Earth’s stratosphere, and is well on its way to its first manned solo flight.
The VSS Enterprise, also known as SpaceShipTwo is certainly known for its own technological advancements, but it couldn’t reach space without its ‘mother,’ the VMS (Virgin Mother Ship) Eve, also known as the WhiteKnightTwo. The VMS Eve, named after Virgin-owner Sir Richard Branson’s mother, is powered by four 7,000-lb thrust Pratt & Whitney PW308A turbofan engines, and has a unique dual-cockpit design, which carries SpaceShipTwo at its center.
For the test-flight, the VSS Enterprise was manned by pilots Peter Siebold and Michael Alsbury, which stayed docked to the VMS Eve for the entire course of the flight. It was the third time the VSS Enterprise made the trip, and by all reports, everything went according to plan. You can view some video of their endeavors here.
Though we are still a few years away from commercial space travel, the continued successful test flights are a good sign for the rich and ambitious among us. Right now, the price for a trip aboard is around $200,000, but that is expected to drop to a still-expensive but more-affordable rate as the popularity of space travel increases, assuming nothing bad happens before then.