Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Virgin Galatic...
So Richard Branson wants to send people into space, huh? Not my cup of tea exactly. I'm more of an earthling. Especially when it's powered by laughing gas and rubber. But full marks to them for effort though.

The Virgin marketing blurb makes it sound a bit like a roller coaster ride at Thorpe Park with their liberal use of exclamation marks.

"Your journey out of this world begins not on the launch pad like a conventional space rocket but on a runway. Virgin Galactic craft are carried under a mother ship to almost 10 miles above sea level. Then the countdown begins!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..the VSS Enterprise, your spaceship, is released from the mother ship. Almost immediately, as your astronaut pilot ignites the engine, you will hear the roar of the rocket behind you as the enormous power accelerates you at 4G to a speed faster than a bullet!

All the time, the ergonomic design of the seats will keep you comfortable.

As you hurtle through the edges of the atmosphere, through the panoramic individual windows you will be able to see the cobalt blue sky turn to mauve and indigo and finally black. Out will come the stars, clear and bright... even though it is daytime!

Soon the rocket motor cuts out. Now, from the rush of adrenalin and the rocket motor, everything is quiet.

You are weightless...

You are in space!

The ship will manoeuvre, so you can look for the first time back at the planet you have just come from. The view will be over a thousand miles in any direction. That’s like seeing North Africa if you were in a spaceship above London or Miami from overhead Washington DC. You will see the clarity of the solar system and the harshness of the sun.

It will be humbling! It will be spiritual!

After these precious minutes soaking up the thrill of space, you will start your return to earth. Your seats will recline to make the journey through the atmosphere as comfortable as possible. At around 50,000 feet the spaceship will return to a glider-like configuration for the landing back at the spaceport.

Possibly, later that evening, at a magnificent gala dinner, you will be awarded your astronaut wings and maybe even a part of the rocket motor used on your trip for you to keep as a memento.

Terms and conditions apply: I.e. we can only take 5 people, you'll need a week's pre-flight training, the whole trip will only last 3 hours, you'll only be weightless for three minutes, you'll have to travel to the Mojave Desert and it'll cost you about £100,000. But, hey, you'll get a slap-up meal and a bit of rusty engine as part of the deal!

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