Dubai firm becomes first to charter space flight

April 23rd, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, April 23 (IANS) An unnamed Dubai-based company has become the first in the world to charter a space flight for its top management. “I cannot reveal any details about the company or the deal, other than (saying that) the flight they chartered can take up to six passengers but they might end up flying only two people,” The National newspaper quoted Sharon Garrett, the head of space marketing and public relations at Virgin Galactic’s Dubai office, as saying.

She said the company deposited 1.8 million dirhams ($500,000) last week to charter one of Virgin’s commercial aircraft

A part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Virgin Galactic is offering sub-orbital space flights and, in the future, orbital space flights to the paying public.

Virgin Galactic’s mission is to fly passengers who are not professional astronauts to an altitude slightly over 100 km and allow them to experience weightlessness.

The first flight is planned for 2009.

According to the newspaper, the two-and-a-half-hour trip, on SpaceShipTwo, as booked by the company, will take off from the Mohave Desert Spaceport in California.

The spaceship will be attached to a base ship known as WhiteKnightTwo, which, after a runway take-off, will reach an altitude of 15,240 metres.

At that point, the SpaceShipTwo will be released and its own rocket will blast it to 4,000 kmph, three times the speed of sound, to reach 109,728 metres.

Once in space the passengers will be allowed out of their seats for four minutes to float around in zero gravity.

After seven minutes in space, the craft will return to earth, using a wing feathering technology, which will help reduce the intense heat generated by re-entering the atmosphere, before making a runway landing.

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