LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Richard Branson on Sunday became the first billionaire to rocket into space, and about 90 minutes late returned to talk about it.
Science and space enthusiasts watched the entire event live, from the takeoff of the mothership in New Mexico to the release at about 45,000 feet of the rocket powered space-plane Unity.
The 2,400 mile per hour ride took Branson and three other civilians 50 miles up, to the inner-edge of space. The passengers got to experience weightlessness and look at the earth from a unique perspective.
“It’s literally the experience of a lifetime,” Branson said while in flight.
Branson beat out billionaire competitor Jeff Bezos who’s set to ride his company’s rocket in coming days and space-baron Elon Musk.
The price tag for upcoming civilian flights on Virgin Galactic’s space-plan are going for about $250,000.
Space enthusiasts said that the ultimate goal of a flight like the one Branson completed today is to make space flight safer and more accessible, and usher in a new age of exploration.
“People understanding about science and technology and how that contributes to not only space travel, but the solutions for climate change, the understanding of how to use these sciences and technologies solve our world’s most pressing problems,” rocket scientist Olympia LePoint told CBSLA.