Richard Branson has reached the billionaire race. Branson was one of six passengers on the Vance unit as it flew 86 kilometers (53.5 miles) over the New Mexico desert before landing on the runway. So far, thousands of people have taken to space, and many have circled or landed on the moon, many more – many more than once. Branson’s record is the first person to own a spaceship (or at least a company he operates). At the age of 71, he also became the second person to reach space after John Glenn’s 1998 trip at the age of 77.
“To the next generation of dreamers: if we can do it, just imagine what you can do,” Branson said, as fellow passengers play with the experience of weightlessness behind him. The flight lasted only 15 minutes – just like the short hop that made Alan Shepard the first American in space. Naturally, for a company that sells a million-dollar tourist flight into space, it was broadcast live to watch. Branson, the crew, and other passengers experienced several minutes of weightlessness.
Previous Virgin flights carried a crew of two or three, some of which ended in disaster. Branson first wanted to let someone else be Virgin’s first four passengers/comfort appraisers before he left later this year. His schedule was apparently changed in an attempt to gaze at Jeff Bezos, who will travel to Blue Origin’s New Shepard on July 20. Branson denied that the change was made to defeat Bezos.
In the meantime, the Bezos will fly a little higher, crossing the Carmen line – this is recognized as the splitting of the atmosphere from space. Almost certainly there will be scientific rewards for the billions of dollars the world is spending to write the names of men in record books and create a space tourism industry. Advanced technology will make it easier and cheaper to launch satellites and astronauts that will expand our knowledge about the universe.
The need to power satellites has kicked solar power and powered devices have saved countless lives, for example through improved weather and climate forecasting. There is no doubt that other advances will come from devices that only reach the place as a result of the launch price reduction. Moreover, Branson’s initiative, on the other hand, has returned value to the bottom of Belize’s Blue Hole, if disappointing information.
Yet, very few scientists will choose it as the best way to invest billions of dollars in the future of science. At a time when hundreds of people are dying every day for lack of oxygen in hospital wards around the world, and running after food and medicine, the wealth involved in the billionaire space race has dwindled, many especially to pornography.
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