Virgin Galactic Now Trains Civilians to Fly to Space

For the better part of the past decade, one of Richard Branson's companies has been struggling to make the dream of civilian spaceflight a reality. In was only in the past two years or so though that Virgin Galactic made incredible progress toward that goal.
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Photo: Virgin Galactic
Having successfully flight-tested the VSS Unity spaceship, the company is now moving forward by getting ready to start actual operations, including by launching its astronaut training program,

The main point of focus for Virgin are of course the paying customers. Spaceflight is not exactly the same thing as a trip by airplane, as even if people will get to spend just a few minutes in zero G, at the edge of space, they still need to be properly trained,

Last week, during an event at the Under Armour Global HQ in Baltimore, Virgin announced the start of its Astronaut Readiness Program. Under Armour is the official spacesuit partner for Virgin Galactic.

No actual details about the training program were announced, apart from the fact it will be far less demanding than those developed by NASA and the likes. That's because as a whole people will not have to be so rigorously tested as military astronauts are.

Virgin says it first customers, who had to pay around $250,000 for a ticket to space, have already been through “a number of flight preparation activities,” tailored to the needs of each, just like their suits are going to be.

‘’Introducing our Astronaut Readiness Program to our first customers marks an exciting point in our journey as we move closer to the start of commercial service,” said in a statement George Whitesides, CEO, Virgin Galactic.

“It is an important step in the process to ensure that our customers are prepared and equipped with the knowledge and training that will help ensure that they savour every second of their spaceflight which we hope will go beyond expectations."

According to official information, there are now 600 civilians from 60 countries who are planning to fly Virgin to space. All will have to wait some more before seeing their dream come true, as for now, there's no official date set for start of commercial operations.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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