on air now

The Aussie heading up the Virgin Galactic Space program

Commercial flights into space could be a matter of months away, according to the Aussie engineer and businessman Enrico Palermo.

The Perth-raised President of the Spaceship Company, owned by the Virgin Group, is heading home to speak a space conference in October, where he will outline the role Australia can play in future space exploration.

He told Neil Mitchell there’s been a resurgence in space development by non-traditional enterprises.

“Space has traditionally been the preserve of major government superpowers and that dynamic is changing pretty quickly,” Enrico said.

“We are close in our test program of starting commercial flights to space, it’s not years away,” he said.

“And can I get a champagne on board?” Neil asked.

“Maybe, liquids and micro-gravity can be problematic, but definitely upon landing there’ll be a celebration!”

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One of the experiences, Enrico said, people find the most life-affecting about space travel is what’s called “the overview effect”.

“And that’s really having the opportunity to rise above the atmosphere and look back at Earth and realise how fragile that is,” he said.

Photo: The Warren Centre