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Astronaut warns of comedown on Virgin space trips

October 30, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A top astronaut has warned that space tourists heading out of this world with Virgin Galactic “are just going to go up and fall back down again” and that the experience might not amount to much of a space flight.

Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian, is somewhat of a celebrity after spending five months commanding the International Space Station earlier this year and recording a rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity that has been viewed on YouTube over 18 million times. To view it: Cordato 

Hadfield, reported by London’s Guardian newspaper, made another controversial point, suggesting that the Virgin comedown might eventually be more drastic than underwhelming. The nature of space travel meant that at some point it appeared inevitable that a Virgin Galactic craft would crash.

Virgin Galactic will take passengers who have booked seats with a USD 250,000 deposit to about 110 kilometres above Earth, where they will experience zero gravity. Hadfield praised the concept and said Virgin supremo Richard Branson had been in touch with him for advice. Celebrities like Paris Hilton have booked trips on the Virgin craft, apparently.

Hadfield told the Guardian that, for their money, Virgin Galactic travellers would receive a few minutes of weightlessness, would see the black of the universe and the curve of the Earth.

Hadfield did add that the more people who could see the world this way, “the better off we are”.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Galactic told the Guardian that Hadfield was “a good friend and supporter” and there was a “huge difference” between his long space flights and those planned for paying passengers.

Hadfield has been described by Forbes magazine as “perhaps the most social media savvy astronaut ever to leave Earth” after building a big audience on social media, including over 1,000,000 Twitter followers as of June 2013.

So even when weightless, Hadfield’s words carry a lot of weight.

You can read the Guardian interview with Hadfield here: 

Written by : Peter Needham

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