Richard Branson to Fly to the Edge of Space Today! Here’s All You Need to Know:

In early May, the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, announced his plan to travel to space on July 20, 2021. Few weeks later, Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, announced his plan to travel to space 9 days before Bezos. If the mission goes as planned, he will be the first billionaire to achieve this feat!

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is launching its passenger rocket, the VSS Unity, for its first crewed mission today. The rocket will take a crew of 6 (including Branson himself) to the edge of space- about 89 kilometres high (55 miles).

Launch Vehicle:

An image of Virgin Galactic’s VMS Eve carrying the VSS Unity for launch.

The VSS Unity is a hybrid of a plane and rocket. It is carried to an altitude of 50,000 feet by a twin-fuesalage carrier jet named VMS Eve (named after Branson’s mother). After the VMS Eve sends to the required altitude, Unity is released and rockets itself past Earth’s atmosphere and into space.

Launch Plan/Schedule:

The broadcast for the Space flight will start from 9:00 am EST or 6:30 pm IST. The whole flight is expected to last around 90 minutes.

The crew will experience weightlessness for a few minutes at the highest point in the flight (89 km). The Unity will then make a descent to Earth and land at Spaceport America- this is the take-off location as well.

The Crew:

The crew for today’s mission. Image credit: cnet.com

The mission will carry a crew of 6. These include, Branson, an Indian-American woman named Sirisha Bandla (She is VP of govt Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic), Beth Moses (Chief Astronaut Instructor), Colin Bennett (Lead Operations Engineer) and the pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci.

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