Richard Branson’s long-anticipated venture, Virgin Galactic, achieved a significant milestone as it carried its first group of tourists to the edge of space.
The event marked Branson’s inaugural customer flight after facing years of delays, heralding the beginning of Virgin Galactic’s offering of monthly space rides. This achievement places Virgin Galactic alongside Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the competitive space tourism industry.
The successful flight saw the rocket soaring into space with a select group of passengers, including a former British Olympian and a mother-daughter duo from the Caribbean. This monumental step forward signifies the company’s readiness to offer its commercial space travel services to the public.
Jon Goodwin, a remarkable 89-year-old athlete who competed in canoeing during the 1972 Olympics, was among the first ticket buyers back in 2005 when the ticket prices were a modest $200,000. The cost of a ticket has since surged to a staggering $450,000. Accompanying Goodwin on this historic journey were Keisha Schahaff, a 46-year-old health coach from Antigua, and her 18-year-old daughter, Anastatia Mayers, a student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Amid the cheers of onlookers at Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert, Goodwin shared his excitement, proclaiming, “That was by far the most awesome thing I’ve ever done in my life.” The mother-daughter duo made a triumphant return, exchanging high-fives and fist pumps with the elated crowd.
Remarkably, the flight marked a significant achievement in gender balance, with women outnumbering men onboard, a rare occurrence in spaceflight history.
The spaceplane’s journey extended approximately 15 minutes, reaching a height of 55 miles. Although this marked Virgin Galactic’s seventh space journey since 2018, it was the company’s first voyage with a paying customer. Notably, Richard Branson himself joined the first full-size crew ride in 2021, demonstrating his commitment to the venture.
Branson’s innovative company had previously held a virtual lottery to select its first 50 customers, known as the Founding Astronauts. Given his age and Parkinson’s disease, Jon Goodwin was designated as the first passenger.
Following the successful flight, Richard Branson expressed his elation on Twitter, congratulating the commercial astronauts and warmly welcoming them to the exclusive space-travel “club.”
With about 800 individuals currently on Virgin Galactic’s waiting list, the demand for such experiences remains strong. The company’s achievement is a testament to the growing allure of space tourism and the technological advancements driving it.
Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?
Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.
Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.
While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.
Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY
What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry
Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.
The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.
The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.
New Zealand example
Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.
The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.
With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.
Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’
Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.
The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.
In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.
We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.
Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.
This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.
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