Just days after promising billions to fight climate change, Sir Richard Branson has unveiled the latest designs of his rocket-powered vehicle that will carry clients into space through his Virgin Galactic business. The Virgin “spaceships” are designed to carry six passengers and two pilots to an altitude of about 140km on a sub-orbital space flight. Tickets on a Virgin Galactic flight are expected to cost $190,000.
The passenger flights, which could begin in 2009, will take off from a $225m facility called Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert. Virgin Galactic is just one of several private firms vying to open up public access to space.
Is Branson a hypocrite – one minute saying that climate change is a real problem and days later announcing plans for commercial space travel, where rockets will cause immense damage to the atmosphere flying at that altitude.
Moreover, as rockets are much more polluting than planes, I hope Branson is going to power his rockets on biofuel. But somehow I doubt it. He could fuel them with his own hot air.