Earlier this year in April, billionaire Richard Branson’s upcoming commercial spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, managed to achieve its first rocket powered flight, and earlier today, it managed to achieve a successful test flight again, rocketing over the skies of California after being dropped from its carrier plane. Not only that, in the second test flight, the SpaceShipTwo managed to achieve a “Concorde” – that is, by breaking the sound barrier as it climbed from 42,000 feet to 69,000 feet over the Mojave Desert using rocket power, before it makes a descent using its tilt-wing “feathering” maneuver.
When finally available, the SpaceShipTwo will be able to ferry half a dozen passengers on its initial suborbital flights. Virgin Galactic mentioned, “In addition to achieving the highest altitude and greatest speed to date, the test flight demonstrated the vehicle’s full technical mission profile in a single flight for the first time … All of the test objectives were successfully completed.” So far, over 500 folks have signed up for the two-hour flight which costs a whopping $200,000 per seat. If you had that kind of money to burn, would you go down that route, or do you think that such an experience is worth forgoing in lieu of a one-off donation to some needy part of the world?