Recently, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, was a part of the Virgin Galactic space flight on July 11, making space more accessible to everyone. Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder is set to lift off on his suborbital space vehicle ‘New Shepard’ on 20 July. However, did Branson actually make it to space? Many scientists are questioning Branson’s space visit. Neil Degrasse Tyson, science writer, astrophysicist, and author, will explain it to us.
Neil Degrasse Tyson believes Richard Branson did not go to space, as the real accepted space border is 100 km above the mean sea level. It is also called the Karam line, named after Theodore von Kármán, a Hungarian American engineer and physicist. But Branson’s flight returned from 86 km above the surface of the Earth.
There are no words to describe the feeling. This is space travel. This is a dream turned reality https://t.co/Wyzj0nOBgX @VirginGalactic #Unity22 pic.twitter.com/moDvnFfXri— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 12, 2021
“First of all, it was suborbital. NASA did it 60 years ago with Alan Shepard, took off from Cape Canaveral and landed in the ocean. If you don’t go fast enough to reach orbit you will fall and return to Earth”, Tyson explained in an interview with CNN.
Branson’s flight did not actually go into ‘space’ or into orbit. He further explained the relative distance between the Earth, artificial satellites and the Moon. With the help of a globe Neil stated, International Space Station and a spacecraft orbit would be 1 cm away from Earth, and the moon is as far away as 10 metres. So, as per this scale, Richard Branson flight went up till around 2 mm from the surface.
Following Brandson’s visit to space, Bezos’ flight was a suborbital jaunt, which means he and his crew members didn’t actually enter into orbit around Earth.
Bezos further described “It’s actually incredibly thin, It’s one thing to recognize that intellectually. It’s another thing to see with your own eyes how fragile it is.”
Tyson is the last person to be consulted as a subject matter expert on human space travel.— Alan Ladwig (@SpaceArtAl) July 11, 2021
Who cares? This was just rich celebrity playtime, covered as if it were a major news story.— Joseph Britt (@Zathras3) July 11, 2021
They just wanted to dress up in cute suits.— tlc (@Lapps100) July 11, 2021
Branson wanted to go where he’s never been before – maybe next time he could visit a Food Bank.
I am soooo sick of insanely rich guys spending stupid amounts of money to show us how freaking needy they are.— KABercaw (@BercawKa) July 11, 2021
Try contributing to the human race.
“It’s okay if you want to call it ‘space’ because average humans haven’t gotten there before and it’s a first for you. That’s why it takes eight minutes to get into orbit and three days to reach the moon. That is actually space travel. So I don’t see it as ‘oh, let’s go into space’. No. What you are going to have is a nice view of the Earth,” Neil added.