Also the founder of the suborbital travel company, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic seems to be one step ahead of Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, taking the lead in taking his own SpaceShipTwo Unity on July 11 to travel to space. The Unity 22 mission will be the company’s fourth manned flight, but it will be the first time that there are four passengers in addition to two pilots. However, unlike Blue Origin, which has “general people” (a seat was also auctioned), Virgin Galactic is all its own employees.
In addition to the “overall customer experience” that founder Richard Branson will evaluate, Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s astronaut instructor, will supervise the execution of the mission; Colin Bennett, chief operating engineer, will evaluate the cabin equipment, procedures and experience; and government affairs and Sirisha Bandla, vice president of research operations, will conduct gravity-free research on the evaluator. Unlike Jeff Bezos, who is an entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson has challenged extreme records many times since he was young, including trying to take a hot air balloon without stopping around the world for a week (but lost to Bertrand Piccard’s Breitiling Orbiter 3) and breaking the sailing boat. The speed record of the Atlantic Ocean, breaking the speed record of amphibious vehicles crossing the English Channel, etc. For Branson, this should be another long-lost adventure!
Virgin Galactic finally successfully completed Unity’s first flight in New Mexico on May 22. After data analysis, Virgin Galactic decided to move on to the next stage of testing, which is passenger flight. If all goes well, the company plans to restart ticket sales in the near future and will conduct two more launch tests before sending the first batch of paying tourists. Virgin Galactic expects to broadcast the full flight of Richard Branson’s flight. It should be a good opportunity to learn about the travel experience provided by Virgin Galactic.