For travel advisors Lynda Turley and Alfred Volden, who signed on with Virgin Galactic as accredited space agents more than a dozen years ago, the long wait to send eager clients on suborbital flights may soon be over, to boldly go where no tourist has gone before. While Virgin Galactic has not yet announced a launch date, there is widespread speculation that flights on the company’s Spaceship Two vehicles could be just months or even weeks away. A recent indicator came from Virgin Galactic officials speaking at a press conference last week during Spaceport Americas Cup, a rocket engineering event for students, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. “We have every expectation that we will be in commercial operation next year,” said pilot Don McKay when asked when the flights will start. The six-minute, $250,000 flights will feature an air launch, rocket-powered ascent at three and a half times the speed of sound, several minutes of weightlessness and views of the Earth’s curvature. “It is something everyone should experience,” said Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor and program manager, at the press conference. “I can tell you firsthand the view is stunning, being weightless and stationary — coming to a peaceful stop at altitude.” Virgin Galactic completed a final test flight of the spacecraft in February and moved its headquarters in May to Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, where the flights are to be launched. “These are both really good indicators that Virgin Galactic is getting ready to begin…
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Source: Nomad Africa Magazine