Sir Richard Branson says he is on the ‘cusp’ of human spaceflight

Virgin Galactic unveil the SpaceShip III

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April 12 marks 60 years since the first human was blasted into space. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union became the first-ever person to go to space when Vostok 1 spacecraft and he completed an orbit of the Moon. Since then, more than 560 people have been to space, but spaceflight could soon be opened up to the public.

Virgin Galactic has pencilled in 2022 for its first commercial spaceflight, and its CEO, Sir Richard Branson, has reiterated his dreams to get into space.

Speaking on the International Day of Human Spaceflight, Sir Branson said: “I have dreamed of experiencing the view of Earth from space ever since I watched the Moon landings as a child.

“Today, we celebrate International Day of Human Spaceflight with the commercial space industry on the cusp of turning my dream, and thousands of others, into a reality by regularly flying private astronauts into space.

“This is the dawn of a new space age and I feel even more passionate about the future of space travel now than I did when Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon.”

Virgin Galactic hopes to take paying customers to the edge of space, where they will be able to experience zero gravity as well as a stunning view of Earth.

Up to six passengers will be able to take a ride on the plane, according to Virgin Galactic.

However, tickets are not cheap and come at a hefty price.

Seats are initially being sold for $250,000 (£196,000) apiece, and customers are able to place a fully refundable deposit of $1,000 (£730) on the company’s website.

However, SpaceX is looking as if it will beat Virgin Galactic in the commercial space race, with a launch scheduled for this year.

The Inspiration4 mission will see four members of the public sent into space.

Once the individuals, of which there can be four per journey, are in space, they will orbit Earth over a “multi-day journey”.

They will launch onboard a Falcon 9 rocket before separating in space on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

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When in space, the craft will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, giving the ordinary person a chance to see views which have so far been limited to a few selected astronauts.

Billionaire Jared Isaacman bought all four seats onboard the mission and dedicated it to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Mr Isaacman donated the seats to members of the public, with Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, being one of the lucky few.

Chris Sembroski, 41, an Air Force veteran, and 51-year old Dr Sian Proctor, an entrepreneur who is also a trained pilot, will also be on board.

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