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FEATURES

New Heights

fairweather enterprises

A trip on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo may bethe ultimate adventure—and it’s a dream that is about to become a reality, reports Fairweather magazine’s publisher ERIC GOODMAN

I must tell you, just clicking on Virgin Galactic’s “Book Your Place in Space” link is a thrill. Imagine what the actual flight will be like!

Be a Pioneer

These days, real pioneering experiences are hard to come by. Whereas our ancestors braved incredible challenges to explore the planet and settle in destinations far from their comfort zones, our super-connected modern world sometimes feels a bit safe, no? Well, if you’ve got $250,000 to investin a unique experience, Virgin Galactic is probably the ultimate in guess-what-I-did- this-weekend adventures.

Join an Exclusive Club

More than 500 people have made space reservations to date, and a reservation not only gets future astronauts a spot on a Virgin Galactic space flight but also a visit to Space- port America in New Mexico to witness test flights of the space ship and carrier craft. (And the lodgings for future astronauts in southern New Mexico are top shelf—turn to page 16 to read “Space Hotel.”)

In addition, astronauts have trained on a centrifuge facility in Philadelphia and taken part in zero-gravity parabolic flights across the U.S. They have also been hosted by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson at his private Necker Island in the Caribbean, game reserve in South Africa, chalet in the Swiss Alps, estate in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Ice Hotel in the Arctic, and Spaceport Sweden.

Future astronauts also get their own Virgin Galactic website, Space Book, a handy way to keep track of perks and pre-flight activities.

Ride in Style

Astronauts will ride in SpaceShipTwo, a 60-foot-long carbon-composite vehicle that will carry six passengers and two pilots. Its cabin size is similar to that of a Falcon 900 executive jet, but with ample room for astronauts to float in zero gravity, and two large windows per passenger—one on the side, one overhead—to savor the ultimate view.

SpaceShipTwo will be carried by WhiteKnightTwo, another carbon-compos- ite vehicle, which has a unique design resem- bling a double airplane. Innovative design will make reentry into earth’s atmosphere smoother and safer than has ever been possible in previous spaceflights.

To learn more about passenger opportunities and research opportunities aboard Space ShipTwo, visit virgingalactic.com.