Virgin Galactic will be in space in "weeks not months", says Branson

Pablo Tucker
October 11, 2018

Eccentric entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson confirmed that his Virgin Galactic will soon be completing its first space rest flights.

Almost 50 years after dropping out of high school at age 15 and founding his first business, Sir Richard Branson is now the billionaire chair of the Virgin Group, which brings in more than $21 billion annually in global revenue. "We should be in space within weeks, not months".

He said Virgin would be taking people into space "not too long after" that.

The next step for the aspiring space tourism firm is get its newly revamped SpaceShipTwo spaceplane to burn its rockets for a prolonged period, allowing the craft to travel faster than before and reach a peak altitude of about 110km.

Virgin Galactic aims to launch the first commercial passenger flight into space, and is in tough competition with USA space company Blue Origin. It is likely that Virgin Galactic is aiming to keep up with SpaceX and Boeing who, despite delays and difficulties, are set to launch test flights in 2019.

Tourists will spend several minutes floating in zero gravity, aboard a spaceship that approaches or passes through the Karman line, the boundary of Earth's atmosphere and space, some 62 miles (100 kilometers) high.

He has undergone astronaut, fitness and centrifuge training over recent months and now believes he will be ready for his maiden space voyage in a matter of months.

'We should be in space within weeks, not months.

Some 700 people have already paid $250,000 each for a seat on the spacecraft, and Virgin Galactic has said that the clamor for places means that anybody purchasing a ticket today will probably have to wait until at least 2021 before they can get to experience the ride of a lifetime.

But Virgin boss Richard Branson has come out with some bullish words on Galactic's progress.

Branson also expressed the hope that with time the ticket price will drop to 40-50 thousand dollars.

Branson has invested in space travel since 2004, and had initially expected to fly into to space himself sometime this year. To date, no private company has delivered on its promise to send tourists into space.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin, and he is pumping in US$1 billion of his Amazon stock into the venture every year with the aim of launching a crewed mission next year.

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