Virgin Galactic came before Virgin Orbit?
Virgin Galactic successfully launched a crewed suborbital test flight of its VSS Unity spacecraft on Thursday – a mission billed as the final milestone before officially opening up for space tourism. At 0915 Mountain Time (1515 UTC), the VMS Eve mothership took off from New Mexico's Spaceport America, carrying its spacecraft …
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Virgin Galactic is the only game in town to ride a rocket and see space.
Commercial ventures that take you to orbit may just be around the corner, but will be somewhat like 50 times as expensive.
If I had a few billion in spare change, sure, I'd thumb my nose at those poor suckers and wait a few years to take a real trip to "outer space", a.k.a. LEO, but at this price point, Virgin Galactic will still find plenty customers among the merely rich.
Since I don't even qualify for that, I'll have to stick to the few milliseconds of micro-gravity that I can get in a rollercoaster.
Yeah, it looks exciting, but nearly half a million for a few minutes of freefall, total trip less than an hour and half. Ok, a few minutes of exciting acceleration too. But still, HALF A MEEEELION? Until Bezos starts competing, I suppose it's the only option, and there's a lot of people who can afford that. Even if you just add up the number of lottery winners around the world that win over, say $5m, that alone is quite a few people and there's not going to be that many flights per year.
If they cancel, they'll have to return the deposits that they've already spent; many über-rich that booked flight will forgo the ticket fee rather than risk their lives travelling on solid-state rocket, when real-space can be achieved more safely with a Bezos projectile.
The Karman line is set at 100Km ( 300k feet ), if you go over it you are in space, even if you don't achieve orbital speed.
The Karman line is internationally acknowledged as the limit between earth atmosphere and space despite the fact that there's a few caveats and stuff around the altitude to reach to be in space.
A quick google tells me that Blue Origin gets you an 11 minute flight, with 3 minutes of weightlessness, while Virgin Galactic gets you a 90 minute flight, and between 4-5 minutes of weightlessness.
So which is better, comes down to whether you prefer length or girth :p Or, as an ex put it, "was that it?"
What will kill Virgin Galactic is the fact that you're not actually crossing the Karmann line and therefore lack bragging rights. Blue Origin does cross the 100km threshold so most people having $450K to spend will go with that. Apart from the fact that BO's ride is much more like an actual rocket launch.
The difference between Virgin Galactic and BO is also pretty substantial (20km). There's no easy way for Virgin to solve this without redesigning their craft.
Personally, it being just a few minutes would stop me wasting money on it. Starship will be able to offer a significant number of people an orbital all day trip.
So they have a few years to try and milk it, until then. Kinda sucks for them to see the writing on the wall is so close.
Well I'm not so sure. It's the view. 20km higher is not going to change an 'Oh my god, look at that!' to something even more amazing. It's going to be as amazing at 80km as at 100km. And once the 'wow what an experience' starts to become a common comment from those who've used it, I can see his service selling itself. The question is how big is the market?