"I firmly believe this is the moment." -
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico - Sunset by Sir Richard Branson in the New Mexico sun late Sunday. White-toothed smiled to see all the 70-year-old adventurers standing next to pilots Dave Mackie and co-pilot Mike Masucci, who recently shot over 85 kilometers, in flight suit, the blue itself looked very bright. p>
If you thought Richard Branson's Sunday morning spaceflight was all about glory and was just serving the semen of a famous billionaire. Don't get me wrong, Virgin Galactic has finally hired Stephen Colbert as its live broadcast host. R&B musician Khaled took the stage after the assignment. It was a joke, it was show time. It was a quiet party.
But without a doubt, this trip was also historic.
The weekend began in this new era, when Branson, along with Virgin Galactic team stars Moses, Sirisha Bandela and Colin Bennett, at a distance of 80 kilometers, selected NASA from space. By doing so, these pilots and crew members unlocked a future full of promise and uncertainty. It is now clear that space flight has changed forever.Read more Virgin Galaxy flew 82.68 km - is this space? Over the past 50 years, the vast majority of human spaceflight - more than 95% - has been designed by government astronauts with vehicles and funded by the government. Starting with Branson and moving forward, it appears that 95% of human spaceflight over the next half century, if not more, will be by special vehicles built by private citizens.
This is the moment. It takes a long time.
Begins with X
Decades ago, the X Prize planted the seeds that finally sprouted by flying on a Sunday.
An engineer and entrepreneur named Peter Diamandes created the competition in 1996, inviting teams to build a new generation of spacecraft. The first team to win a vehicle that can take humans to space and do so twice in a short time will win $10 million. Read more The Biggest Leap, Part 1: How NASA's Apollo Fire Grown Toward the Moon
Diamandis In the 1960s, he fell in love with the era of Apollo exploration and believed that when one reached adulthood, everyone could go to space. But this did not happen and space remained a province of some of the world's richest countries and was not available to all but the elite astronauts. By the 1990s, fewer than 300 people had gone into space, all of whom were National Space Program employees, military officers, or highly trained guests from those countries.
Diamandis tried to change that inspired by Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator who flew across the Atlantic for the first time. Lindbergh changed the aisle to win the Ortega, a $25,000 prize presented by New York hotel manager Raymond Ortega for the first non-stop flight pilot between New York and Paris. Six men died in three accidents before Landy's 1927 masterpiece helped launch a transatlantic flight. Decades later, passenger air service was commonplace. Diamandis hoped the X Prize would similarly spur human spaceflight.
A team led by Brett Rutan eight years later, barely in time to win the X Prize. Team Rutan built SpaceShipOne, a small rocket launcher. SpaceShipOne's masterpiece has inspired many people, including English marketer Richard Branson. Branson had always developed an appetite for extreme adventure and wanted to go to space one day.
But Branson is not an engineer nor does he claim to be an engineer. It was initially thought that it would be relatively easy to scale the thrust from SpaceShipOne to a larger vehicle. The spacecraft could be piloted by two pilots and carried six passengers, which eventually led to the space tourism activity. Branson founded Virgin Galactic with this goal in 2004 and said he would go into space only a few years later. Soon the company began selling tickets worth 250 thousand dollars. But SpaceShipTwo was no less easy, and building a larger, more technically powerful spacecraft was in high demand. In addition to these challenges, the work process was fraught with risks. Three of Rutan's employees, Scaled Composites, died in a 2007 plane crash and pilot Michael Alsbury died in 2014 while on a test flight. Virgin Galactic will finally arrive in late 2018, and the completion of the other two test flights will pave the way for Branson's historic flight on Sunday. This journey did not last for several years - it took almost two decades. But Branson remained determined.
Diamandes and Branson weren't the only ones who wanted to make room for more people. In the mid-1990s, when Diamandes founded the X Prize, video game maker Richard Garriott dreamed of going into space himself. His father, Owen Garriott, was a NASA astronaut who spent several months on the Skylab space station in 1973 and later flew on the space shuttle.
But Garriott needed glasses when he was a kid, so he didn't. You are not eligible to become an astronaut. Instead, Garriott got into video games, and the rest is history to many of Ars' readers. However, even when he developed the Ultima series, he never lost ground and pursued the industry.
A few years after the X Award, Eric Anderson and Garriott were sitting on their back porch in Austin. When the sun set over the horizon, the two discussed their frustration with the pace of events since the competition began. “We all thought these subcompounds would be ready in a year or five at the latest,” Garriott told Ares. Both began discussions about other ways to reach space quickly. At that time, the only game in town was Tropical. For flights conducted by the National Space Agency, NASA had its own space shuttle that could carry seven people into orbit at the same time, but the space agency was not interested in doing so. NASA said it was very happy.Read more about what we know and don't know about Tom Cruise's plans to shoot a movie in Russian space, then out of the Soviet era, and totally welcome capitalism, but Garriott was told he'd have to pay $300,000 to Russia so he could Its space program covers the cost of training commercial "tourists" and transporting them from Soyuz to the Russian section of the International Space Station. In order to be the first of these space tourists, he and Anderson founded Space Adventures for Broker Flights. p>
He died Unfortunately, the dotcom crash soon took some of Garriotta's fortune away from Ultima and other video games. So businessman Dennis Tito became the first person to fund his space flight after the Soyuz spacecraft was shot down in April 2001. Tito spent a week in space. Six other orbital tourists, including Gariot, follow Tito to the Soyuz space station.
The last mission was in 2009.
This is "The Moment"
The promise of clandestine tourism is that it can expand access to space for many people. With orbital flights costing tens of millions of dollars and months of training, suborbital spaceflight costs several hundred thousand dollars and requires only a few days of training.
Fulfilling that promise has been a challenge. For most of the past decade, spaceflights like Branson's seemed to be only a year or two away. But there have always been bugs and technical problems to solve and more safety concerns to solve. Time passed and it seemed that one day it might never come.
Behind the scenes, however, the furious race between Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin missile company Jeff Bezos intensified. Both competed in building, testing and flying with sub-orbital launch systems that transported hired customers into space. The race, of course, got to the wire. After Jeff Bezos said he would fly into space with his New Shepard rocket on July 20, Branson ramped up his flight that had been scheduled for late summer. On Sunday, Branson won the first race in the only nine-day space tourism race.READ MORE GAME - Sir Richard Branson on July 11th while trying to go into space
As Garriott sees, we all win Garriott: "It's exciting to see everyone go into space." Coincidentally, only sub-tropical space tourism has reached maturity. In the next two months, SpaceX will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will carry four private astronauts. The "Inspiration 4" mission was purchased by entrepreneur Jared Isakman, who is using the trip to promote pediatric cancer research. NASA has supported the development of the Dragon Crew as a transport system for the International Space Station. It did so through a public-private partnership, which also required SpaceX to invest in Crew Dragon. Instead, SpaceX found more freedom in designing the Crew Dragon due to its specifications. NASA has encouraged the company to seek out private clients.
This is what is happening now. As part of the development of Inspiration 4, SpaceX co-founder Ilan Musk said he expects more private flights than the NASA-sponsored mission to the International Space Station with the Crew Dragon. Announcement
From now on, the vast majority and possibly the vast majority of future flights into orbital space will likely be privately funded. The special human spaceflight is finally ready to fly.
"I firmly believe this is the moment." Rachel Lyons, executive director of Space for Humanity, told Ares.
Space entrepreneur and investor Dylan Taylor founded the charity in 2017 to expand access to space. Space for Humanity aims to support people from all over the world to go into space and experience the total impact and return to Earth to share with their communities. "We're trying to sow the seeds for people around the world who've had this experience," Lowes said.
Space for Humanity first laid out plans for the program in 2019 and plans to purchase Virgin Galactic chairs, Blue Origin. , and other similar space flight opportunities. At that time, none of the companies had flown. This technology was not ready. Space For Humanity soon shut down its programs.
In 2021, it's time. Last week, Space for Humanity resumed the application process.
What Branson and Bezos did with respect many people regard for a variety of reasons, understandable reasons while both have invested heavily in spaceflight, but also benefited from subsidies. For Virgin Galactic, that meant a stunning launch facility in southeastern New Mexico. To address Branson's motives and space ambitions, New Mexico taxpayers funded most of the $220 million in American sports. It's not clear how many of those taxpayers have been with hundreds of Virgin Galactic customers - people who have bought tickets but haven't been to space yet - and members of the media to watch Branson fly. It seems reasonable to ask why taxpayers should support the bizarre experiences of the rich and famous.
It's also easy for Branson, Bezos, Musk and other spaceflight investors to be "the boys and their games" to make sure Branson and Bezos can compete in space rockets for the first time. It has nothing to do with the destruction of this image. This has become a common cause among liberal lawmakers. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders described NASA's proposed budget for Blue Origin as "saving Bezos."
Most of that sentiment can be found in places like the New Republic, where Jacob Silverman wrote last week that the Bezos-Branson race was a "selfish, vicious, and useless race." Silverman added, "At a time when land inequalities could not have been more pronounced, it is disgusting to allow the Mongols to collect the billions of tax-free taxes they earned on the backs of precarious workers in private jobs detached from anxiety or 'getting rid of everyday responsibility'"Read more Jeff Bezos reveals his broad vision of humanity's future in space
But this criticism misses the bigger picture of why billionaires go to space. This is the beginning of the journey, not the end. Bezos, in particular, outlined the potential for heavy industry to exit. From the planet - like collecting space solar energy and mining asteroids rather than mining in the Earth strip - to keep Earth as a garden.Billionaires see a future in which humanity, confined to resources like water, food and energy, will struggle for a growing share. "We can really march on," Garriott said. In one of two ways.” “In a few decades, we can reach the point where we have to rationalize birth rates, energy, food, and so forth. Or we can reclaim a lot of space resources, and now it's time to get started."
It's also true that only the wealthy can go to space now, but you have to start somewhere, the Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin spacecraft is the first step toward the democratization of space.After flying on Sunday, Branson said he would donate two seats to Space for Humanity.Three of the four seats in SpaceX Inspiration 4 were given to people who couldn't pay more.Before Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX arrived, Only seven people have managed to buy a ticket to space. This year, alone, that number will double. And all should only increase in the future, perhaps exponentially.
Of course there are risks. With commercial frontiers open with experimental launch systems, People are going to die. They used it before during the development of the Virgin Galactic VSS Unity spacecraft. So there was a lot of concern on Sunday in New Mexico that something might happen again. While Branson might be boring, it should also be seen on He is brave in commanding a missile that has only been launched three times before.
Conclusion? He's lined up his $1 billion butt to show the safety of Virgin Galactic. This is no small thing.Zoom / Virgin Galactic Unity22 Crew, left to right: Dave McKay, first pilot, Colin Bennett, Senior Operations Engineer Beth Moses Senior Trainer Astronaut Richard Branson Founder Virgin Galactic Sirisha Bandela Vice President Government Operations and Research Michael Masucci Pilot. Virgin Galaxy
About an hour into the flight, Sir Richard and other new "astronauts" who had just flown into space walked under the scorching sun while the audience cheered. Branson invested 17 years of his life and fortune to make this moment happen. Yes, he had a good time, yes, the charming show was noticed.
But this moment was bigger than Richard Branson, and he knew it. Branson left a simple message for the audience as he sprinkled champagne on his crew and turned Sirisha Bandela into a pig backstage. “
Hello, at the dawn of the new space age.”
And it was a very bright sunrise—not only because he was standing in the middle of the desert, in the middle of summer, in the middle of the day. p>
That's why Richard Branson's journey is so important - and it really is
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