Sprouting from Carl Benz’s first gasoline engine, long back in 1886, technology cum transportation aided humans to indeed collect samples from an asteroid 321 million kms away. Now in 21st Century, mode of transportation and enhancement had touched great peaks with World’s first Hyperloop and Commercial Space Travel. Yeah, you read it right. Virgin Group, a British Conglomerate founded by Richard Branson and Nik Powell holds these two missions (Virgin Hyperloop & Virgin Galactic) among its several, for a better better-world.
Let’s uncover them in crisp manner!
Back in 2012, when Elon Musk published his alpha paper stating that aerodynamic aluminium capsules having passengers or cargo could be propelled through a vacuum tube at elevated speeds of up to 760mph (1223km/hr), he named it ‘hyperloop’ and had it open-source. And in 2014, Hyperloop technologies emerged which later got acquired and renamed to ‘Virgin Hyperloop’.
What is it actually?
Virgin Hyperloop works on to commercialize high-speed technological concept “hyperloop”. The concept comprises of an electromagnetically levitating pods carrying passengers/goods to freely zip through a sealed vacuum tube at 760mph, under less air pressure, no air resistance and friction.
The company has been under development for the past six years and finally led a huge step in hyperloop technology while testing, by carrying humans for the first time in the capsule on Nov 8, 2020 rushing at a speed of 100mph (160km/hr).
First test with humans onboard
Virgin hyperloop conducted this test travel in its DevLoop test track of 500 meters long and 3.3 meters diameter, in its firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. The firm’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder, Josh Giegel and head of passenger experience, Sara Luchian were on the test-travel. DevLoop was already a platform for 400 tests but for the first time, having humans on it.
“No one has done anything close to what we’re talking about right now”, says Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.
Virgin Hyperloop’s pod, called by Pegasus, could hold 23 passengers and weighs 2.5 tons with 15-18ft length. Getting into Pegasus, it gets airlocked by removing the air inside the enclosed vacuum tube and accelerates at 100mph down the length of the track, before slowing down to a stop. That’s how, the test happened.
Challenge & Future
Though it tested at a less-hyperloop speed, the firm had highest speed of up to 240mph, recorded in 2017 and marches forward to bring it to 670mph. The firm also tackles the vital part of handling it in safety and economic factors. Having high-speed hyperloop increases the chances of accidents, at even an atomic gaffe. And leaked financial documents from the company in 2016, portrayed that hyperloop costs $9 - $13 billion with $84 - $121 million per mile for implementation.
The company has overseen it and grabbed deals and partnerships around the globe. For instance, Virgin Hyperloop signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Bangalore (India) Airport, to transport thousands of passengers per hour between the airport and city in 10 minutes raging at 1080kmph (it would actually take nearly 1hr, excluding traffic).
Hyperloop is no longer a futuristic technology!
Virgin Galactic is an American spaceflight company, aiming to take off hundreds to thousands of people to space, as a tour, on a commercial spacecraft. Founded in 2004, Galactic made its first test-flight in December 2018, after encountering a catastrophic inflight loss on October 2014.
Galactic includes WhiteKnightTwo, a custom-built jet aircraft, designed to carry SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceship built by a private company.
The Make & The Work
WhiteKnightTwo is a four engine, dual fuselage jet aircraft, that relays SpaceShipTwo up to an altitude of 50,000 feet. The first WhiteKnightTwo was built in 2008, tested and endorsed to provide aviation to the payload SpaceShipTwo, holding it between them, as a twin cabin. The twin cabins come from the same mould as the spaceship and detaches from the SpaceShipTwo, after releasing it.
SpaceShipTwo is a reusable, winged spacecraft designed to carry eight people (including two pilots) into space safely and with high frequency. SpaceShipTwo is powered by a hybrid rocket motor – combining elements of solid rockets and liquid rocket engines. SpaceShipTwo’s cabin has been designed to maximize safety, comfort and astronaut experience. Exposure to G-forces during SpaceShipTwo’s ascent and descent is safely and comfortably managed thanks our custom-designed, articulated seats.
For many Virgin Galactic astronauts, the trip to space will be defined by the views. For this reason, SpaceShipTwo has more windows than any other spacecraft in history, allowing each astronaut to look out into the cosmos and back to our beautiful planet below – with a new perspective in each direction.
Sending people to space has not only expanded our understanding of science, but taught us amazing things about human ingenuity, physiology and psychology. From space, we are able to look with a new perspective both outward and back. From space, the borders that are fought over on Earth are arbitrary lines. From space it is clear that there is much more that unites than divides us.
Here is an inside-view of Virgin Galactic
Galactic, presently announces its first Spaceflight from Spaceport America which is
expected to occur between Nov19-23, 2020. The firm had already inclined its ticket-sales, charging $250,000, and is about to resume it, in the near future. You can hold your seat in the space travel as a waiting list, paying $1000, which the firm introduced in February, 2020. Passengers will be taking a space-tour in Virgin Galactic starting from 2021, confirmed by its CEO Richard Branson.
The company fortunately pocketed $742 million in its financial reserves by the end of August, 2020.
Ready for the Space-tour?
Sources & Credits to the pictures goes to the respective owner(s).