We haven’t heard much out of Richard Branson’s intergalactic airline for a while, but apparently we should soon see some actual, edge-of-space Virgin Galactic commercial flights, with paying punters and all.
Not that you or I are likely to be able to afford a trip to the edge of space, but hell, it’s good to see. One day this might make it cheap enough, and common enough that we’ll all be flying to orbital space stations. A hotel in space would have one hell of a view, that’s for sure.
Anyway, exact flight details have yet to be finalised, but we will see Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo taking to the Kármán line (100km above sea level) this year. That’s technically the edge of space. Apparently the craft doesn’t have to be cleared for flight by the US FAA (it’s taking off from Spaceport America) — it’ll simply be a case of the passengers signing waivers and taking their lives into their own informed hands.
Still, it’s not like Virgin’s been skimping on safety; all the flight delays have been caused by testing and assurance of safety. I don’t think anyone would fork up £125,000 per seat after witnessing its maiden voyage blow-up mid-air. [IEEE via Wired]