"..a bardy view!"

Virgin Galactic……

Virgin galacticI'm delighted that Sir Richard Branson has announced that he's going into space in 2014, along with some other well-heeled celebs prepared to pay £130,000 for two minutes of zero gravity.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers plus two pilots. Although it's worth noting that it can't get into the air without a piggy back – enter WhiteKnightTwo – the carrier craft – which will release it upon reaching 50,000ft. After its brief sojourn into space, it will glide back down to its base in New Mexico. Sounds like a short space shuttle flight to me.

Nevertheless, already 520 people have signed up. Being a mathematical genius I have worked out that 88 flights will be required to give them their thrill. I also calculate that that's only £69m. Unless Mr Branson plans on more than one flight a day, every day, then they should all be accommodated in a three month time frame – barring any unforeseen delays.

I'd like to know how many people will actually queue up in the long term to spend this money, when each flight with six paying passengers will generate £780,000. Presumably free-fall in outer space doesn't use much energy, but getting up there does, and there's no reason to suppose, until a new fuel source is discovered, that the whiteKnightTwo will not be using as much fuel as a typical long-haul Boeing 747 carrying 200 passengers.

How many flights a day does Virgin Galactic need to make a profit? This is not eco-friendly air travel – it is just a gimmick, cloaked and dressed to attract, designed for the wealthy suffering from ennui to experience an out of this world experience. We plebs unfortunately are mere observers in the grand scheme.

Presumably the costs will come down – but that's what people thought about air travel many years ago. The reality is that it is more expensive. Fuel prices have risen, wages have risen, operating costs have risen. 

Personally I believe in space travel. I can think of no greater facility than to send the Tom Cruises, Bob Diamonds, Wayne Rooney’s, David Cameron's, George Osborne's, Nick Clegg’s, Ed Milliband's, Mitt Romney's, Barak Obama's, President Karzai's, Simon Cowell's, z-list celebrities, the Taliban's, Angela Merkals, Kim Jong Un’s, Hu Jintao’s, Sepp Blatter’s, Vladimer Putin’s, Mugabe’s and (add your own here)……… into space.  If you think that is an eclectic mix, then there’s plenty more where they came from.

Throw them all up together, along with the ubiquitous Richard Branson, and let them float around in zero gravity to argue amongst themselves, form their own political systems, and even let them play their own Olympic Games. With luck, should they return to Earth safely, they'll be so spaced out that they'll all retire to a nice communal country cottage with a garden where they can’t bother anyone but themselves.

Yes – I believe in space travel – it can't come soon enough for me.



July 11, 2012 - Posted by | Current Affairs, Education, Europe, Events, Humour, Politics, Science, Travel, United Kingdom, USA | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the laughs Bardy, you have a real talent and long may it live.


    Comment by Spook Moor | July 11, 2012 | Reply

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