SpaceShipTwo attached to WhiteKnightTwo
So, can I actually go in to space then?
You can go in to suborbital space, yes - if you have got a cool $200,000 sitting around in pocket change. Beginning as early as 2011 Virgin Galactic will be doing just that - sending paying customers to the edge of space and giving them the thrill of being weightless for several minutes and seeing the curvature of the Earth from above the atmosphere. With over 300 passengers already stumping up the 200k for a flight, the line is getting longer and production of the vehicles is projected to reach 40 within a few years, but Virgin Galactic has sealed its place in the historic first flights with exclusivity on launches for the first 18 months, so don't be expecting the lines to get smaller anytime soon.
SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo comparison
By the time the flights are ready to go, New Mexico will have completed construction of Spaceport America, a state of the art facility designed to be a model for future spaceports across the US. The cost will of course come down as the number of flights increases, but it will be a long time before spaceflight becomes anything like air travel, with low cost carriers saturating the marketplace.
I have put a huge empty vodka bottle in the corner, so come on Spacers, turn out your pockets and send your change to me so I can send a Spacers report - from actual space!
Happy Spacing Spacers!
Images credit: Virgin Galactic