The successful flight testing of Virgin Galactic’s Unity spacecraft by the carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo has boosted the confidence level of Sir Richard Branson. He feels his company has moved one step closer to accomplishing the mission of sending tourists into orbit as a part of space tourism.

Daily Mail UK reports that the test flight was carried out by two pilots Dave Mackay and Mark Stucky from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert. The spaceplane attained an altitude of 114,500ft and a top speed of Mach 1.9. This was the second rocket-powered flight of the Unity spacecraft in which it bettered the earlier performance of April in terms of both altitude and speed.

Plans of Space tourism

People love to Travel and enjoy the variety that life has to offer. They travel by car, reserve a berth in a cruise liner, and/or fly from one destination to another. The latest tourism trend is the up-and-coming concept of space tourism in which Virgin Galactic is playing a leading role. This business venture of Sir Richard Branson is poised to set the pace for a unique tourism which will offer the tourists the experience of traveling in space just like an astronaut. The tickets are priced at $250,000 per flight and the fitness level of the tourist must be optimum.

The latest test flight of Unity spacecraft was carried out on April 5 after its first flight nearly four years ago.

It was the sixth powered test flight of the SpaceShipTwo design, and the second since the tragic crash of the Spaceship Enterprise on October 31, 2014. One test pilot lost his life in the accident while the second pilot suffered serious injuries.

Right now, three names are associated with space tourism. They are Sir Richard himself, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

In the opinion of Sir Richard, the main competition is between him and Bezos. Elon Musk is concentrating more on sending cargo to the International Space Station ISS and building higher capacity rockets.

Future of Space tourism is bright

Right now space tourism is a concept that only a few can afford. The tourist must not only be in a position to pay up but also be able to withstand the rigors of traveling in zero gravity conditions.

According to CNBC, the race to pioneer this branch of tourism is right now between Sir Richard Branson and his fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon. While Branson has his Virgin Galactic, his competitor Bezos is investing nearly $1 billion every year from his Amazon to develop the necessary infrastructure in the form of rockets and capsules to accommodate the tourists. He hopes to begin operations this year.

Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 and has been raising capital through private investment. However, Saudi Arabia has recently announced that it intends to invest $1 billion into Branson’s ventures. That should provide huge a boost for his endeavors.