Mankind must abandon earth or face extinction: Hawking

Mankind's only chance of long-term survival lies in colonising space, as humans drain Earth of resources and face a terrifying array of new threats, warned British scientist Stephen Hawking on Monday.

All aboard! Next stop space...

Several hundred people have already booked their tickets and begun training for a spectacular voyage: a few minutes, or perhaps days, in the weightlessness of space.

Virgin Galactic shows off passenger spaceship cabin interior

Passengers flying Virgin Galactic on suborbital trips into space will be able to see themselves floating weightless against the backdrop of the Earth below while 16 cameras document the adventures, the company said Tuesday.

Virgin Galactic rocket ship ascends from New Mexico

Virgin Galactic on Saturday made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle, as the company forges toward offering tourist flights to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere.

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Spaceflight is the use of space technology to achieve the flight of spacecraft into and through outer space.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other earth observation satellites.

A spaceflight typically begins with a rocket launch, which provides the initial thrust to overcome the force of gravity and propels the spacecraft from the surface of the Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraft -- both when unpropelled and when under propulsion -- is covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

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