The Ride of Your Life

With a mother ship and a brand-new spaceship ready to roll Virgin Galactic's venture to space takes a giant step toward reality.

As darkness fell over the Mojave Desert, a jubilant crowd gathered on a tarmac where flashing lights, dramatic music and a sprinkling of snow added to the anticipation and excitement. Emerging from the shadows, mother ship Eve slowly taxied down the runway and rolled to a stop, presenting to the world its first commercial manned spacecraft.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the eagle has landed,” said the announcer, and with that, the realization that we had just witnessed and important moment in history set in.

“It’s as close to being reduced to tears as I’ve been,” admitted Sir Richard Branson of his first glimpse of the finished spaceship.

Californiagovernor Arnold Schwarzenegar was also awed at his role in the unveiling of the ship, which he and New Mexico governo Bill Richardson christened VSS Enterprise.

“Governors get to do all sorts of things,” he said “but this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”

Indeed, it is very cool – and another step toward the reality of space tourism.

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Dawn of a Decade

As I type this, I'm at 41,000 feet on an American Airlines 777 flight returning home to Dallas/ Fort Worth, still buzzing from a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles. I was there for the unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship, which is set to be the world’s first commercial passenger spacecraft and which marks yet another definitive step toward the reality of space tourism. In true Virgin style, the invitation-only event in the Mojave Desert was dramatic and sexy, complete with dozens of media camera crews, celebrity sightings, and chic surroundings. It was a fantastic perk offered to the 300 paying customers – future astronauts, as Virgin Galactic calls them – who have already secured their seats for a trip to suborbital space.

For Virtuoso, the glitzy unveiling was the cherry on top of a four-day forum for our Accredited Space Agents, who are Virgin Galactic’s official sales agents in the Americas.

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Virgin Galactic Space Travel with Distinctive Journeys

MOJAVE AIR & SPACE PORT, CA (December 10, 2009) – JANIE BULLARD from DISTINCTIVE JOURNEYS a member of leading luxury travel network Virtuoso®, joined Virgin CEO and Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, on December 7, 2009, for the reveal of SS2. This was the first unveiling to the public since construction of the world’s first manned commercial spaceship began in 2007. SS2 has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space after test programming and all required U.S. government licensing and regulatory approvals have been completed.

As the official sales channel for Virgin Galactic throughout the Americas, Virtuoso® and select members of this leading luxury travel network were present for the unveiling event. The organization’s CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, who is also a “Founder” passenger with Virgin Galactic, headed the Virtuoso group attending the event. JANIE BULLARD is one of only 74 Virtuoso member travel advisors chosen to train and become an Accredited Space Agent (ASA).

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