Today, the 29th February 2032, will be a day to remember. Today is the day the 15,000th rocket flight from Virgin Galactic blasted into the skies. 109,450 tonnes of rocket fuel have been used and 90,940 people have shot into orbit in the past 11,680 days.
Since 2010 Virgin Galactic has been taking space tourists into orbit and now the galactic fleet is being grounded indefinitely. The new interorbit elevator or IOLev has been built consisting of 10,400 carbon nanotube based vertebrae that hold aloft a 25,450 tonne satellite in orbit.
Anchored to an island 476 kilometres north of the UK, the space elevator can carry 1,218,250 people a year to the Virgin Space Hotel. After rising the 1,346 kilometres into orbit the passengers then take a shuttle to the orbiting hotel 36 kilometres away, where they can wine, dine and view trillions of stars from the comfort of their sun filtered hotel window.
In 2010 the cost of such a rocket trip was $US200,000.00 but now it only costs $US100,000.00. If inflation were taken into account it would be only $20,000 by 2010 standards. The lift is only $US59,995.00 per person, an adjusted price that would barely make a space tourist blink in 2010
The new space elevator, which took 13,140 man-hours and 24,050 robot-hours to build, features a state of the art gymnasium, a yoga room and over 681,090 hours of world music to choose from. As it takes over 12 hours to travel in it to the waiting shuttle, keeping passengers occupied is a necessity.
Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Galactic, says that work is moving apace for the completion of the Moon hotel. After 750,000 man, robot and rocket hours, he's sure that the next great holiday will be on the moon's surface. He believes that with 1,467,000 people worldwide owning flying cars, life needs to be more exciting, and you canít get more exciting than flying to another world. What next, tours to the first moon landing?
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For students fascinated by numbers you may wish to discuss really large amounts such as quadrillion, quintillion, sexillion, googol, googolplex etc, or discuss the different numbering structure between the UK and the US eg: billion=milliard, trillion=billion etc and how this will effect future economic calculations.