First passenger in Space, what a week for commercial space travel


James Joseph | February 24, 2019

This week was a world-defining week in commercial space travel. Two all-time significant firsts took place from SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, and both happened within 24 hours of each other.

The first was Virgin Galactic’s fifth test flight. For the first time ever carrying a passenger. Now understandably this was no ordinary passenger, for the purposes of the test flight Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor for Virgin Galactic, took the seat. She became the 571st human to travel into space reaching an altitude of 89.9 kilometres.

This is a hugely defining moment for Virgin Galactic. Just two weeks ago Virgin Galactic pilots received their commercial space wings, to enable them to legally fly passengers. If Virgin Galactic are now testing passenger flight, I can finally believe Sir Richard Branson on his claim of flying in the rocket by the end of the year. It’s very clear that the team are getting extremely close to their goal of commercial passenger trips.

Meanwhile another company from Israel was making a gigantic first. By launching the first ever commercial lunar-lander in history, aiming for the moon. Launched as a secondary payload on a SpaceX rocket, the lander designed and built by SpaceIL will land on the moon in April. It is an incredible achievement and will accelerate law-makers to start making decisions and laws on governing the moon and space. It’s the first accelerated step to seeing the moon being used as both resources and a base for commercial enterprise.

Both these achievements could really ignite momentum for commercial space travel, it’s really exciting to witness, and changes my attitude a little from one of my previous articles Why I’m Bearish On Space Tourism. I cannot wait to see what transpires in the next three months both at Virgin Galactic, and with the SpaceIL mission