Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will offer two free tickets to space.
In partnership with charity fundraising platform Omaze, the space tourism venture will give away the tickets on flights slated to launch in 2022. The cost for a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight is usually $250,000.
A press release from Omaze reads:
The Omaze sweepstakes will support Space for Humanity, a nonprofit seeking to democratize space and send citizen astronauts of diverse racial, economic, and disciplinary backgrounds to space.
Participants can enter for the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime galactic journey: two tickets to experience microgravity at the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity, the same spacecraft that carried Sir Richard Branson to space and back this morning.
On Sunday, Branson became the first human to enter space on his own vehicle. As The Daily Wire reported:
The mothership WhiteKnightTwo took off with SpaceShipTwo — also known as VSS Unity — attached in between its twin fuselages. At about 46,000 feet, the mothership then released SpaceShipTwo, which ignited its rocket engines, climbing vertically. The spacecraft soared at Mach 3 — more than 2,300 miles per hour — to its apogee at about 282,000 feet (53.4 miles) high. Then it began its descent and the four passengers — who did not wear spacesuits or helmets and had no need to supplemental oxygen — experienced weightlessness for a couple minutes. SpaceShipTwo then re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere — causing a double sonic boom — and glided back to land at a runway.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there it is. More than half a century since the world rejoiced when humans first achieved spaceflight, Richard Branson fulfills his dream of experiencing space travel,” said comedian Stephen Colbert, who hosted the launch coverage on behalf of Virgin Galactic.
“I was honoured to test the incredible customer experience onboard Virgin Galactic’s spaceship VSS Unity as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists — and now astronauts,” remarked Branson after the launch. “How you feel when you look down on Earth is impossible to put into words, it’s just indescribable beauty. I can’t wait for you all to get up there.”
Blue Origin — the rocket company started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — is set to launch its first manned flight on July 20. As with Branson, Bezos will accompany his company’s crew.
Indeed, Blue Origin slammed Virgin Galactic for purportedly failing to truly enter space: “From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name. For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km up at the internationally recognized Kármán line.”
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