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  • Arjun Khemani

Richard Branson Goes to Space

On July 11th, 2021, Sir Richard Branson flew to space in his Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Spaceflight with three other astronauts. It was the company’s ‘First Fully Crewed Spaceflight’ with the great founder of the company on board. Watching the live stream of the launch on their website at home was one of the most inspiring things that I have ever witnessed. Getting to know about Richard’s story, his dreams as a kid and his accomplishments as an adult businessman and adventurer was amazing and truly motivating. Going to space isn’t an easy task. But Virgin Galactic did it. Here’s how: The Virgin Galactic Spaceflight experience is very different from the conventional rocket which thrusts up mostly perpendicularly into the sky. The Spaceflight launch is very energy efficient and relatively much more comfortable. It begins with a smooth runway take off like an aeroplane. The plane-like Spaceship goes to about 50,000 feet when the Spaceship is separated from the Mothership (the Mothership is like the main aeroplane which carries the spaceship-like pod in a conventional rocket up to 50,000 feet of altitude) and then the Spaceship’s rocket ignites sending the flight’s velocity up to three times the speed of sound! Virgin Galactic calls this an ‘Air-Launch’. The Spaceship then climbs to about 300,000 feet. At this moment the Spaceship has officially reached space. The astronauts can then unbuckle themselves and enjoy weightlessness and zero-G in space for a couple of minutes looking down at our beautiful planet After having a wonderful time watching the Earth from space, the Spaceship prepares for re-entry and descends into the atmosphere, the wings are then lowered and the Spaceship glides to a smooth landing on the same runway from where it had taken off. Richard Branson gave an amazing message from space yesterday addressed to all the kids down on Earth who have dreams like he had once as a kid. He said: “To all you kids down there, I was once a child with a dream. Looking up to the stars. Now, I’m an adult in a spaceship with lots of other wonderful adults looking down to our beautiful, beautiful Earth. To the next generation of dreamers, if we can do this, just imagine what you can do.” To me, it was just incredible watching the whole thing. It’s such a great achievement for the company and humanity as a whole. Sir Richard Branson, with his company Virgin Galactic, is making space more accessible for the common people. You may even be able to go on a ‘Space Trip’ in a couple of decades just like you go to any other place on the planet now for a vacation. It’s amazing when you can make a business out of a dream and contribute to fulfilling others’ dreams of going into space one day too.

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