Virgin Galactic has shown in the past few years how private sector investment and innovation can lead to a rapid transformation of stagnant technologies. We are now very close to making the dream of sub-orbital space a reality for thousands of people at a cost and level of safety unimaginable even in the recent past. We know that many of those same people, including myself, would also love to take an orbital space trip in the future, so we are putting our weight behind new technologies that could deliver that safely whilst driving down the enormous current costs of manned orbital flight by millions of dollars. Today’s announcement is an important step along the way to achieving our ultimate and long term goal of leading an industry which opens up the huge potential of space to everyone, whether it be for the experience itself, for science research, for fast and efficient transportation around the globe or for delivering payloads to space safely, cleanly and cheaply. We very much look forward to working with SNC, OSC and other partners in the future to bring this ambition to fruition.
What will space travel be like in the future?Well, we might stay at a space hotel. And what will we do in space? Lots of exciting activities are planned. Furthermore, imagine what sports will be like in a weightless environment! 1,000 yard field goals, anybody? 80-foot pole vaults?Personally, I have no craving for space travel. I’m content with terra firma and the wonders of this planet, which you could never see all of even if you dedicated your whole life to the attempt. You could never even see all of America…and I can’t imagine anything in the universe more awesome and majestic than hiking the Grand Canyon, seeing the sun rise across the Painted Desert, or descending into the fabulous underground otherworld at Carlsbad caverns.But there are people who will always yearn for space…some of them, I suspect, right here in this forum. People who will fully understand the feelings of John G. Magee, an American aviator and poet, who was killed in 1941 at the age of 19, when his Spitfire VZ-H, collided with another aircraft during a training flight at a British air base. Magee is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Scopwick in Lincolnshire, England. On his gravestone are inscribed the first and last lines from his poem High Flight:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth –Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.”