When the first commercial flight into space takes place on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise, the whole event can be enjoyed by everyone as NBC secures the rights to air it.
The flight, scheduled to take place in August, will be part of a three-hour special edition of NBC’s Today programme. Among the passengers will be Sir Richard Branson and his children, Holly and Sam.
As a build up to the main event NBC will be tracking the final development stages of the VCC Enterprise. Hopefully the show will be syndicated worldwide so it can be viewed outside of the US.
“Without a doubt, Sir Richard and his children taking the first commercial flight into space will go down in history as one of the most memorable events on television,” says Sharon Scott, president and general manager of Peacock Productions. “Through NBC Universal’s multiple platforms and overseas network partners, viewers from around the world will get to experience this 'where were you' moment. We’re extremely honoured to chronicle Sir Richard’s journey and live launch into space.”
While the event is planned for August, space flight is dependent on everything being perfect so that date may end up being pushed back. But if all goes according to plan the VCC Enterprise will take off from Galactic’s terminal at Spaceport America in New Mexico. It will be lifted beneath the WhiteKnightTwo mothership called VMS Eve.
After being dropped at 50,000ft the Enterprise will fire its hybrid rocket motor and carry the six passengers to 68 miles high (110km) on a suborbital trajectory.
Once in space the passengers can remove seat belts and float about for several minutes in weightlessness. The price for that privilege - $250,000 (£156,000). Virgin Galactic has already accepted $80 million in deposits from 640 customers.