MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - As Virgin Galactic is developing commercial space vehicles to launch in spring 2015, for 155,000 pounds per ticket (about $249,015), chief executive George Whiteside expects space tourists to experience a journey that will alter human perspective on our planet irreversibly and help to change the world for better, The Telegraph reported Sunday.
“There is something called the overview effect, which is scientifically documented. When people go into space they come back with a different perspective,” Whiteside told the newspaper, marking the 10th anniversary of the project.
“So I think we are going to have tens of thousands of people who are leaders in their community coming back and bringing that planetary perspective with them [which is] really important to solving some of our biggest problems on Earth,” he added.
However, Whiteside, who was among the first to buy a ticket in 2005 hoping to spend a honeymoon in space, did not realize his ambition as the project gets pushed back often, the newspaper reported.
Since the founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson hoped to launch the first flights in 2007, 700 people have already paid the 155,000 pounds ($249,015) for their tickets including celebrities as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite being allowed to get a refund, none of the passengers has done so yet.
According to The Telegraph, the delays in the launch of flights are due to technical problems. Two of the six SpaceShip One vessels suffered catastrophic problems, and three engineers lost their lives in a 2007 explosion. The engineers are currently working on the Spaceship Two, but it has not yet managed to achieve the altitude required.
“To create a vehicle that humans will travel into space and back and to make that reusable is a really hard thing to do and we have a higher bar because Richard is going to fly on this in the first flight,” Whiteside said, following Branson’s announcement in September that he would be flying with his family in February or March next year.