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  • The Race to Space

    History has been made: the latest test flight for Virgin Galactic has successfully reached the edge of space and returned to Earth, welcomed by a cheering Sir Richard Branson.

    On Thursday 13th December, Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic team and The Spaceship Company sent the passenger rocket ship, SpaceShipTwo, into space. The race between Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to send the first fee-paying passenger ship into space is on, and thanks to Thursday’s success, Branson is ahead of the game.

    This goal has been a long time coming: in 2008, Virgin Galactic had plans to put people in space within 18 months, but delays and a fatal crash in 2014 have meant that the dream has taken a little longer than anticipated.

    Thursday’s test flight carried two pilots and a mannequin named Annie as their passenger ‘stand-in’. SpaceShipTwo took off from the Mojave Desert in California and travelled at 2.9 times the speed of sound as it gained height, ultimately reaching a height of 82.7 kilometres above Earth.

    While the firm’s rivals, SpaceX (Elon Musk) and Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos) have technically ventured further into space, neither have done so with humans on board. Both companies plan to follow in Branson’s footsteps, with crewed missions set for 2019.

    More than 600 people have already bought tickets or paid a deposit towards a Virgin Galactic flight in the future – the 90-minute flight has a price tag of US$250,000.

    Image courtesy of Virgin Galactic

    With an Ocean View

    Europe’s first underwater restaurant is set to open in autumn of 2019 at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline. The aptly-named restaurant, ‘Under’, offers guests panoramic underwater views and a truly unique dining experience. The restaurant will sit semi-submerged at five and a half metres beneath the North Atlantic Ocean.

    The company behind ‘Under’ is the Norwegian-founded, international architectural and design firm, Snøhetta. Rather than the half-sunken restaurant building reflecting an aquarium in design, Snøhetta have designed the structure to be incorporated within the marine environment, resting directly on the sea bed. The structure has been built to withstand pressure from varying sea conditions and offers guests jaw-dropping views through its massive acrylic windows.

    The menu is on a par with the magnificence of the structural design: guests can enjoy appetisers on the mezzanine level before descending a wooden staircase to embark on a culinary journey – a fifteen- to eighteen-course set menu that will vary seasonally and will use only the best local ingredients. Each dish will be paired with a choice of matching wine or non-alcoholic pairing.

    Before the restaurant has even opened its doors, the waitlist is set for a minimum of six months, so if you want to try this unforgettable dining experience for yourself, you had best plan well ahead.

    Image courtesy of Under

    For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.

    With compliments of First Class: visit them online or at Instagram