It has now been a few days since I was at the historic unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise. I’ve not only been professionally connected to this project for three years as Virtuoso CEO but also personally as a Founder Future Astronaut, and this entry is from the personal side. You see, I have six models of VMS Eve carrying VSS Enterprise! I have them at work, at home, heck, I think the only place I don’t have one is in my car – hmmmmm? I was there for the amazing ASA visit to Scaled Composites during Virtuoso’s Travel Mart 2008, I was there for the unveiling of the models in New York and the awesome party that followed, and I was there for the unveiling of VMS Eve, so my expectations were pretty high for what I was going to see this week.
First Look At VSS Enterprise
Nothing could have prepared me for the experience – seeing them coupled together, coming through the mist, was just awesome. Simply put, you can’t truly appreciate how incredible these two look together – they are sexy, powerful and awe-inspiring! Nothing has been built in decades that both captures the imagination and pushes the envelope like this spaceship and her mothership. My emotions went from toe-tingling excitement to tears of joy to be part of such a great human accomplishment. Every Future Astronaut I met was also moved and we all had one universal feeling – those who are waiting to book are missing out on the incredible experience that Virgin Galactic has created for those of us helping them prove this is a commercially viable enterprise (pun intended!).
Virgin Galactic Is Making History
Getting to know the Virgin and Scaled teams has been such great part of this journey. Hearing Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Richardson talk about the significance of this project while also poking fun at each other was great fun. Getting to know the test pilots – Brian Binnie, the winning X prize pilot, and now “Forger” and David Mackay – well, where else would I have ever had that opportunity? This is not just getting to observe history. It has been an opportunity to know the people making history – to share their dreams and see those dreams come to reality.
As for me, I never dreamed of being an astronaut or a pilot. I want to experience this journey because I believe it embodies the very best of what travel is all about – getting out of your comfort zone, seeing things from a different perspective, and appreciating the world. Who knows what effect space tourism will have on the world? Maybe having creative and successful people detach themselves from our planet, even for a short time, will inspire them to do even more for us all.