A Look Back at Space Tourism Version 1.0 as New Gaggle of Millionauts Prepares to Fly

The first space tourist, Dennis Tito, poses with Soyuz TM-32 crew mates Talgat Musabayev, and Yuri Baturin in 2001. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For eight years, they thundered aloft in cramped Russian spacecraft from a former Soviet spaceport in Kazakhstan, battling bureaucracy and gravity to blaze a trail across the heavens and redefine what it meant to be a space traveler. No longer would access to orbit be limited to highly trained astronauts chosen on merit and working on behalf of their nations; instead, space would be open to any sufficiently healthy people with enough money and moxie to qualify.

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Virgin Galactic Announces New Scholarship in South Africa

Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

I somehow missed this announcement back on July 18…

In celebration of the wonderful Nelson Mandela on Mandela Day, Virgin Galactic and Galactic Unite are thrilled to announce a new initiative, inspired by the great man himself. The premise of Mandela Day is that every one of us has the ability to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Galactic Unite, inspired and driven by Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronaut community, has already fostered a number of scholarships for students around the world in the STEM+ areas of education. Today, Galactic Unite are excited to announce a new strand of this – the Galactic Unite South Africa Scholarship Programme.

To mark the launch of this, the staff of Virgin Galactic are supporting the initiative with a new scholarship . They have pledged to raise the necessary funds to enable the STEM+ education of a high school student in South Africa for three years, along with an engagement programme with Virgin Galactic staff providing mentoring and support.

In doing so, Virgin Galactic looks forward to supporting Galactic Unite in their vision that in this new age of commercial space travel, educating the future generations on the advances in science and technology will help unlock answers to global challenges and change the world for the better.