On December 7, Virgin Galactic rolls out the world’s first commercial manned spaceship, SpaceShipTwo. Check back often next week for the latests updates from this event. In the meantime, here’s a brief look at the journey to space tourism:
April 12, 1961
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space.
July 20, 1969
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon.
May 18, 1996
Ansari X Prize announced: $10 million for the first private team to fly consecutive flights to space within two weeks.
June 21, 2004
First private manned space flight. Mike Melvill pilots SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan’s aerospace firm, Scaled Composites.
September 27, 2004
Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan partner to create the world’s first commercial manned space operator, Virgin Galactic.
October 4, 2004
Test pilot Brian Binnie wins Ansari X Prize in SpaceShipOne.
July 20, 2005
Virgin Galactic sells first tickets to space; more than 300 future astronauts have reserved seats to date.
December 6, 2006
Virgin Galactic selects U.S. Accredited Space Agents, 100 percent of whom are Virtuoso travel advisors. Training commences in February at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
June 12, 2007
Virtuoso travel advisors selected as the exclusive space agents for Canada; training commences.
September 4, 2007
Spaceport America designs unveiled in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Virgin Galactic’s future headquarters.
January 23, 2008
WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo designs unveiled; Virtuoso Accredited Space Agents complete a two-day forum at National Aerospace Training & Research Center in Philadelphia.
April 28, 2008
Virtuoso’s Central and South American space agents chosen.
December 21, 2008
First test flight of WhiteKnightTwo.
May 28, 2009
Phase 1 rocket testing for SpaceShipTwo completed.
June 18, 2009
Spaceport America breaks ground.
July 27, 2009
WhiteKnightTwo makes public debut at EAA AirVenture. Virtuoso Accredited Space Agents and confirmed future astronauts granted VIP access to the event.
December 7, 2009
Virgin Galactic will unveil the world’s first commercial manned spaceship, SpaceShipTwo.