“This is the first time in the field of sub-orbital flights”Outside the atmosphere, explains Sunday 11 July on France Info Philippe Dronot, the director in charge of the mission at the Cité de l’Espace, in Toulouse, a few hours away from billionaire Richard Branson’s space flight. The Briton is scheduled to take off from New Mexico, in the United States, aboard the Virgin Galactic ship at 3 pm French time.
franceinfo: Will space tourism take shape with this trip?
Philip Drono: This is not the first in space tourism. It is rather the first in the field of suborbital flights, that is, we go beyond the atmosphere, because 99.9% disappeared from 60 km. We are really in a vacuum of space. On the other hand, we have zero velocity and are jumping over the atmosphere.
“This is Richard Branson’s first time, but it’s not the first for space and cruise tours.”Philip Drono
What exactly is a sub-orbital flight?
We’re in zero gravity, meaning we’re floating like astronauts, but we stay there for two to three minutes, and again, there’s some acceleration. Then we go back down, back to the stratosphere about 40 km away. Since the speed was low in height, we went back.
Will space tourism remain reserved for the elite?
There will undoubtedly be hundreds of people who will go on for this small foray. But he penetrated without real work, that is, without scientific experience, and without real necessity. So, if it was a hobby, it would obviously still be expensive, because it takes a lot of energy and is still technically challenging. We’re in space tourism, and it’s tourism that will still technically be expensive and something that should definitely be limited and regulated in the future.