THE future of space travel has taken one giant leap forward after Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo completed landing tests.
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson is hoping to offer space tourism from 2018, and the latest landmark shows the project is on track.
SpaceShipTwo reported a safe landing in Mojave, California, earlier today – it’s 11th successful test.
The official Twitter account for Virgin Galactic posted: “Smooth landing.”
The shuttle will fly punters into space under Branson’s visionary Virgin Galactic plan.
If all goes well, space fans will be launched more than 50 miles above Earth, a point which NASA define travellers as astronauts.
Passengers will ride aboard SpaceShipTwo, a spaceplane designed to carry six passengers and two pilots.
Last year, Professor Stephen Hawking unveiled Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo craft, called VSS Unity, after the first SpaceShipTwo craft VSS Enterprise crashed during tests in 2014.
With a hefty price tag of $250,000 (£175,000) a ticket, the opportunity will be targeted at celebrities and wealthy thrillseekers, as well as researchers.
And there are already a whole host of 700 celebrities and scientists desperate to get a chance to try the spacecraft – including Hollywood A-listers Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Space scientist Stephen Hawking, 75, said the Virgin boss had offered him a seat.
Virgin Galactic is currently up against fierce competition in the private space race from firms such as Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
In May 2017, it was announced that a new “feathering” test, where the twin tails of the craft fold up to providing aerodynamic braking, has been successful.
Earlier this week, media mogul Branson posed shirtless to square up to UFC legend Conor McGregor.
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