Verum theatrically declared, “And the winner is Sir Richard Branson of the United Kingdom (UK)!”
She added, “He flew to the edge of space onboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. This makes him the first space tourism pioneer to try out his own vehicle.”
Her crystal ball projected the video. Once it ended, the four Mysticals were awestruck. While it was possible for the Mysticals to easily travel to space in a tempus machine, it was an important moment for humans.
“Rightfully so,” mused Orak, “Branson was among the first people to envision space tourism. I think he spoke about it way back in 2004. He announced his intention to make a spaceplane, which would evolve into commercial service by 2007.”
“It’s 2021 now!” said Felix, “What took him so long?”
“Technical difficulties including a fatal crash in 2014,” explained Verum, “But Branson flew to space in the Unity vehicle developed by Virgin Galactic over 17 years!”
“Oh, so, other billionaires who are into this field such as tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and Amazon.com founder, Jeff Bezos arrived at the scene much later,” said Orak, “Could you tell us more about Sir Branson’s flight?”
“Of course,” said Verum, “Sir Richard Branson’s flight to the edge of space took off from Spaceport in New Mexico, United States. The United rocket plane was carried by a much larger plane up to 46,000 feet. At this altitude, it disengaged and successfully flew to space. After roughly reaching a height of 90 kilometers or 295,000 feet, the Unity returned to the Earth.”
“Wait a minute,” said a puzzled Orak, “Isn’t the internationally recognized altitude for space 100 kilometers? Did Branson’s rocket reach space after all?”
“Well, the US government recognizes it to be 8o kilometers,” said Verum.
“When will this become a commercial enterprise, Verum?” said Felix.
“Branson plans to start selling this space tourism experience from next year after making the improvements he noted during this flight,” said Verum, “However, at least 600 individuals have paid deposits for tickets priced around $250,000.”