Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

In order to be the first to “punch in” space, the billionaire “rolled up”!

This month, billionaires are “grouping to fly.”

Smart Things reported on July 12 that on the morning of July 11, local time in the United States, British Virgin Galactic, which built the world’s first commercial spacecraft, sent its founder Richard Branson into space !

When the spacecraft rose to about 53 miles from the surface of the earth, the 71-year-old billionaire unfastened his seat belt, experienced weightlessness for a few minutes, and enjoyed unprecedented space scenery through the window.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲The spacecraft is in a state of weightlessness

This is a full 9 days earlier than the “Flying” project of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Bezos and Bezos’ younger brother will take the new Shepard rocket built by their own space company Blue Origin on July 20, local time in the United States, and officially experience a “simple version” of space travel.

The era of commercial space travel is coming! Which link will Branson, a special cosmic “tourist” experience first? Is this space travel worth looking forward to? Let us take a look.

01  Climb to an altitude of 53 kilometers and experience weightlessness in 4 minutes

Affected by the weather, ground preparations were postponed. The commercial space travel test flight of Virgin Galactic, which was originally scheduled to start at 9 o’clock on July 11th, US Eastern Time (21 o’clock on July 11th, Beijing time), was postponed to 7 Beijing time. 22:30 on the 11th. This flight is one of the last tests before Virgin Galactic launches its commercial space travel business.

At 22:38 on July 11th, Beijing time, Virgin Galactic took off with a smooth runway, which made the astronauts in the spacecraft more comfortable. The aircraft consists of two parts, one is a dual-fuselage mother aircraft VSS EVE controlled by two pilots, and the other is a rocket-powered spacecraft VSS Unity.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲VSS EVE takes off with VSS Unity

At 23:26 on July 11, Beijing time, VSS EVE climbed to an altitude of about 45,000 feet with VSS Unity, and the spacecraft separated from the main aircraft. The rocket on the spacecraft began to breathe fire to provide power for the spacecraft.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲The VSS EVE main machine is separated from the VSS Unity spacecraft

The spacecraft quickly reached 3 times the speed of sound, and then the rocket engine shut down, the spacecraft rose to an altitude of 53.53 miles and entered a suborbital flight. Branson and other crew members unfastened the seat belts and began to experience the magical sense of weightlessness in space.

After 4 minutes, the astronauts fastened their seat belts one after another, and the spacecraft adjusted its wings and began to return in a gliding manner.

Branson was very nervous during the launch. During the return journey after experiencing weightlessness, Branson became very excited and happy.

The spacecraft successfully landed at 23:41 on July 11, Beijing time, and flew for about 63 minutes.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲The spacecraft landed

After stepping off the spacecraft, Branson and five other crew members received the “Astronaut Wings” badge issued by NASA.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲Branson won the “Astronaut Wings” badge

This flight brings commercial space travel one step closer to people.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲Schematic diagram of flight mission

02You  can go to space without long-term professional training

The Unity22 mission is the 22nd flight experiment of the Virgin Galactic Spacecraft II rocket-powered spacecraft named VSS Unity, and it is also the fourth manned space mission of Virgin Galactic. In addition to Branson, the crew also includes two professional astronauts and three mission experts.

Pilots CJ Sturckow and Kelly Latimer are in charge of piloting the VSS EVE aircraft, and astronauts Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci are in charge of piloting the VSS Unity spacecraft , the two astronauts who worked on Virgin Galactic’s manned aerospace flight test flight mission .

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲Six astronauts in VSS Unity, Branson on the third right

This is the largest number of manned spaceflights by Virgin Galactic. In addition to the astronauts McKay, Masucci and Branson, there are also three mission experts who test the experience of the astronaut cabin.

The three mission experts are Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Coach Beth Moses, Chief Operations Engineer Colin Bennett and Vice President of Government Affairs Sirisha Bandla (Sirisha Bandla) .

Among them, Moses served as the head of the cabin and the director of space testing, mainly supervising the safe and efficient execution of the test flight targets. Bennett evaluated cabin equipment and procedures in the boost phase and in the weightless environment. Bandera is responsible for using an experimental method from the University of Florida to evaluate the experience of conducting manual experiments.

Money can go to heaven, 71-year-old Branson leads Bezos to complete a 4-minute space tour

▲Virgin Galactic commercial space travel arrangements

This time there are four people who are not professional astronauts. Commercial space travelers will not have the same training process as professional astronauts. Virgin Galactic space travelers may only need to spend 4 days to experience space travel. The preparations for the first three days involved the debugging of aviation suits and other equipment and some simple training and physical examinations. On the fourth day, they could fly into space.

03  “Feathering” action adds to safety

Virgin Galactic’s business expansion in commercial space travel has not been smooth sailing. On October 31, 2014, U.S. time, the Virgin Galactic Spacecraft II VSS Enterprise suborbital spacecraft crashed in the Mojave Desert in the United States during a test flight, resulting in a crew member Personnel died and another person was injured. On December 12, 2020, US time, due to a technical failure, the flight test failed. The two pilots on the plane returned to the ground by gliding, and no one was injured.

Founded in 2004, Virgin Galactic has been conducting research and development on space travel for many years and has invested more than $1 billion so far. The Virgin Galactic space travel vehicle currently uses the WhiteKnight mainframe and the VSS Unity spacecraft. Mainly adopt the reusable horizontal launch mode and “feathering” entry technology to complete the launch and return to landing. Among them, the feathering technology was designed and developed to avoid the recurrence of the accident in 2014.

As of this test flight, Virgin Galactic manned aeronautical flight test flight has been successful three times. The first two flights took off at the Mojave Aerospace Port in the United States. First, on December 13, 2018, US time, the WhiteKnight 2 took off from the Mojave Aerospace Port on board the Unity spacecraft, and the VSS Unity spacecraft flew at an altitude of 51.38 miles.

On February 22, 2019, US time, the VSS Unity spacecraft with three crew members successfully reached the edge of space 55.85 miles from the Earth.

The third manned air mission of Virgin Galactic took off from Spaceport America on May 23, 2021, US time.

04  Fiery commercial space travel

Not only Virgin Galactic is conducting test flight missions, but also two companies are also attempting commercial space travel. Virgin Galactic is the first to obtain a full commercial launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In addition to Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the other two are Blue Origin founded by Jeff Bezos and the Space Exploration Technology Company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk ( SpaceX).

Branson to take on more than their own spaceship into space, before, Bezos announced on July 20 this year, and his brother Mark Bezos (Mark Bezos) together , as Blue Origin suborbital new Shepherdsville The first passengers of New Shepard (New Shepard) embarked on a space journey. Musk also announced that SpaceX will also open a private commercial space travel business.

Taking a space trip is not cheap. For example, a Virgin Galactic commercial space trip starts at US$250,000 per seat. However, there are still many people yearning to enter space. According to reports, more than 600 people have prepaid.

05  Conclusion: Space travel is gradually no longer a dream

The test flight of Branson was not only to complete his space dream, but also to advertise for Virgin Galactic, proving the safety of Virgin Galactic’s commercial space travel.

With the continuous advancement of aerospace technology, human beings are gradually moving from the earth to space, but space travel still has considerable risks, such as whether the human body can adapt to the harsh conditions of space such as weightlessness and whether the aircraft can ensure safety and other factors. Judging from the commercial space travel experiments of various space companies, these issues are being better solved.

Although many aerospace and aerospace companies have been engaged in space travel overseas, they are more of a “short experience”; compared to the three-month stay on the space station in my country, there are still astronauts who are out of the capsule “really.” “Life in space is still far apart; at the same time, the Tianhe Space Station is about 400 kilometers away from the Earth, far higher than the destination of commercial space travel-the Carmen Line 100 kilometers away.

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