Virgin Galactic – Where Anyone Can Become an Astronaut

[ 0 ] July 9, 2013 |

Fancy a ride into space? Join the 600+ who have already signed up to be a part of Virgin Galactic’s consumer space program that aims to create an “unforgettable experience.”

At the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival, Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director for Virgin Galactic, revealed to genConnect the life-changing path of Virgin Galactic, his work with Sir Richard Branson, and how the latest combination of travel and technology will take you where you’ve only dreamed of: space. Watch below:

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Virgin Galactic is the world’s first commercial space line, something that Attenborough says is “long overdue.”

“The response has been phenomenal,” Attenborough says of interest in flying into space. A necessity for the program to move forward, virgingalacticlogosince its creation, however, is a risk and an investment. “We’ve got to do it right the first time,” he says. Which is why safety is the number one priority. Virgin Galactic is still running tests to ensure a smooth first ride, and is using expert engineering to ensure safer travel into space, including an innovative air launch, lightweight materials, and hybrid rocket motors. Says Attenborough: “It’s laws of physics, which is beautifully simple.”

More than 600 individuals from 52 countries are a part of “the most fabulous community” that will become the first consumer astronauts, with ages spanning from late teens to early nineties. “We are going to demonstrate that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is … you are going to become an astronaut,” says Attenborough.

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He described the spacecraft itself as “a stunningly beautiful vehicle.” Its minimalist interior will allow passengers to fully experience “the freedom of zero gravity that we’ve all dreamed about” and gaze out of its many windows into space and down at Earth – something Attenborough believes is a vital element to the entire celestial experience.

“Although we are giving people a fantastic ride, it will be a profound experience and they’ll want to do something about it when they get home,” he said.

In his capacity as commercial director for Virgin Galactic, Attenborough has the opportunity to work with Sir Richard Branson, the British business magnate and owner of the Virgin Group and its 400 companies – including Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Virgin Galactic. Attenborough says Branson has taught him a lesson or two about determination, for one. “You just have to pursue your dreams …and sometimes the road is a little more rocky than you anticipated,” he said.

vgss1For Branson and Attenborough, and all of Virgin Galactic, there is a steadfast belief that what they are doing is for the greater good, and for the betterment of individuals’ personal happiness.

“These people are not only going to have a safe trip,” Attenborough said, “they’re going to have a trip that they’re going to talk about for the rest of their lives.”

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About Stephen Attenborough: Stephen Attenborough is commercial director for Virgin Galactic, which is on track to become the world’s first passenger–carrying commercial spaceline and has attracted over 560 future astronauts and more than $70 million in funding. Attenborough [...]
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