When’s the last time you got to sit down and chat with a real live astronaut trainer and have all of your space questions answered from a pro? Probably never. But now, thanks to Virgin Galactic, you get a chance to sit down and have a virtual conversation about Virgin Galactic space travel with Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Astronaut Trainer. Can you tell how excited we are?
What is Virgin Galactic Space Travel REALLY Like?
The brand new “Spacechat” series is an innovative way for young space explorers to submit their space questions and get answers from someone who has actually been there. Beth has not only trained astronauts for space travel, but she’s also done it herself!
In this first Virgin Galactic space travel Spacechat, Beth talks about her personal experience in space and gives viewers a glimpse into what it’s like to see Earth from the blackness of space.
The chat starts off with the question so many space enthusiasts are asking: “What is it really like to strap into a spacecraft designed and built specifically for you and head into the black of space?”
The video shows actual footage of Beth preparing for her big day, and breathtaking footage of the Virgin Spaceship Unity launching through Earth’s atmosphere. As she comes back down to Earth, the smile on her face says it all: she has done what so many scientists and space lovers dream of doing one day.
Watching the video clearly still makes Beth emotional, and she jumps right into explaining her educational history and qualifications that made her a candidate for a trip of a lifetime. Her experience includes testing hardware in different extreme environments (elevated and reduced G environments) and training astronauts to test hardware in environments of weightlessness.
Boarding and Launch
Clearly qualified to discuss all things space, Beth walks viewers through the process of Virgin Galactic space travel. She starts with the boarding process, going into detail about the sounds and sights she experienced as she boarded the spacecraft. She explained how she was checking sensors and activating cameras, all while listening to all the pilots and mission control.
The 45-minute flight took them 45,000 up into the air, higher than any commercial airplane will go. When they finally made it to release altitude, she heard the pilots countdown:
“3, 2, 1, Release!”
The View From Space
Through the spacecraft window, she could see the spaceship carrier Eve soar up and away . Then they began to free fall. She describes the feeling as quiet and smooth and mentions experiencing time dilation. Finally, the part she had dreamed about her entire life: rocket motor ignition.
The Chief Astronaut trainer was pushed back in her seat as she launched from 0-60mph in under a second towards the blackness of space. She explains how they were supersonic for eight seconds. Then the nose of the spacecraft turned up towards space.
As she recalls this moment, you can see how the memory has impacted her. It still brings back very raw emotions. Beth explains that one of the most significant things she noticed was the color of the sky. It was purple!
When the rocket motor cuts off, Beth explains, you feel weightless. She explains how it is different from how it is portrayed in Hollywood, and how “natural and joyous” it feels.
Work With A View
Once she was clear to unstrap, she looked right out the window. The video shows a picture of her reaction seeing the curvature of the Earth, and it’s a moving photo. She continued with a series of tests. She floated into the cabin, checked various hardware, and moved to the cockpit. The team of five experienced the highest part of the flight, called apogee, together.
One of the most captivating parts of the Virgin Galactic space travel video is listening to Beth explain the view of the Earth from space. She was able to see for thousands of miles. She could see halfway up the US and down into Mexico. Beth describes how she could see snow-capped mountains and remembers thinking:
“I thought Earth was wearing her diamonds for us that day.”
When the time came, Beth strapped back in and prepared for the return. She describes the re-entry process as stable and safe. She recalls how the pilots seamlessly navigated the glide to a runway landing. As they landed, Beth remembers thinking that ”We’ve done it. We’ve built a system that opens space to all.”
The video is captivating and emotional, and you can’t help but get even more excited about space travel after watching it.
On The Next Spacechat
At the end of the video, Beth sets the foundation for the next Spacechat, a conversation with President of Virgin Galactic, Mike Moses. The next video is entitled “How to design a spaceship. ” She also reminds parents about the engaging Kids Corner section of Galactic’s website. This section is geared toward the youngest generation of future space explorers. In the Kids Corner, kids can download activities and watch Virgin Galactic space travel videos made just for them.
Beth took a few questions at the end of the video and then signed off with a sincere thank you for all of the love and support she’s received for her space flight.
Watch the full Spacechat below. The photo of her reaction to seeing Earth from space is priceless. Wait for it right after the 12-minute mark.