Virgin Galactic to give away 2 free seats for space flight

Virgin Galactic has announced it will give away two free seats on one of the company’s commercial flights to the edge of space.

Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic, announced the giveaway after returning to Earth on Sunday from his own flight to space.

“It’s an exciting, I think, opportunity for people around the world which has never existed before,” Branson said on stage from Spaceport America, the company’s launch hub in New Mexico, about 180 miles south of Albuquerque.

Branson is partnering with the charity fundraising platform Omaze to conduct the sweepstakes, according to a statement.

Anyone can enter the raffle free of charge, though participants can pay for more entries, thus increasing their chances of winning a seat on the flight, which is expected to launch early next year.

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson(L), with Sirisha Bandla on his shoulders, cheers with crew members after flying into space aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel, a voyage he described as the "experience of a lifetime" -- and one he hopes will usher in an era of lucrative space tourism at Spaceport America, near Truth and Consequences, New Mexico on July 11, 2021. - "Congratulations to all our wonderful team at Virgin Galactic for 17 years of hard, hard work to get us this far," he said during a live feed as the VSS Unity spaceship glided back to Spaceport America in New Mexico.It reached a peak altitude of around 53 miles (85 kilometers) -- beyond the boundary of space, according to the United States.
Virgin Galactic is hosting a raffle for the two seats — both free of charge.
AFP via Getty Images

The deadline to enter is Sept. 1, with the winner being announced about a month later, the company said.

Proceeds will support Space for Humanity, “a nonprofit seeking to democratize space and send citizen astronauts of diverse racial, economic, and disciplinary backgrounds to space,” Omaze said in a release.

The winner will receive two tickets for the space journey, Omaze said.

The lucky person will also be flown out to Spaceport America in New Mexico, given a paid-for hotel room and get a “VIP tour of Spaceport America” led by Branson, Omaze said.

Branson, after his flight to space Sunday, joked that he will put his “Willy Wonka hat on” for the tour.

Billionaire Richard Branson floats in zero gravity on board Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity after reaching the edge of space above Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S. July 11, 2021 in a still image from video.
Branson is partnering with the charity fundraising platform Omaze to conduct the sweepstakes.
via REUTERS

“Until now, most people could only dream of venturing beyond Earth. Now, we are incredibly excited to team up with Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic, and Space for Humanity to give two everyday citizens a chance of going to space,” Matt Pohlson, CEO and co-founder of Omaze, said in a statement.

“Omaze was founded on democratizing access to out-of-reach experiences,” he said.

“It’s an honor to advance this ideal to space travel while partnering with an organization dedicated to democratizing space for the better of all humankind,” Pohlson added.

Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity, carrying Richard Branson and crew, begins its ascent to the edge of space above Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S. July 11, 2021 in a still image from video.
Proceeds will support Space for Humanity.
via REUTERS

The raffle closes on September 1 and a winner will be announced on September 29, according to Omaze.

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