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Saturday 7 August 2021

The thrill of the space will cost you dearly

So you'd like to visit space? Time to start saving, then.

Virgin Galactic has re-opened sales for its space flights - and has massively lifted the price, website reported.

Virgin halted ticket sales during its early testing phase in late 2018, when the price was $US250,000 per seat.

The new price of $US450,000 per seat. It comes just a few weeks after its latest test flight which was conducted with a fully manned crew for the first time, including company founder Sir Richard Branson.

Would-be astronauts have three options for buying tickets - they can purchase a single seat, buy several seats together or charter the eight-passenger Unity spacecraft.

"As we endeavour to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said. 

VSS Unity lifts off under the wing of a carrier plane called VMS Eve, which hauls the space plane to an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). At that point, the space craft drops free, ignites its onboard rocket motor and blasts itself to sub-orbital space.

Passengers experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and get to see Earth against the blackness of space before coming back down to Earth for a runway landing, about an hour after take-off.

About 600 people have so far booked a ride to date, Virgin Galactic representatives said.

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