Virgin Galactic To Launch In Just Weeks!

Virgin Galactic To Launch In Just Weeks!

Sir Richard Branson has taken the lead in the race to space by claiming Virgin Galactic is just "weeks" away from its first trip into space. Branson told the New Yorker earlier this year, but he says: "If you are an optimist and you talk ahead of yourself, then everybody around you has got to catch up and try to get there". "Then we will be in space with myself in months and not years". And that'll be a legitimate offsettable business expense for professional Instagrammers, so there ought to be loads of them up flying about up there, pouting in front of small, black windows.

"I think that learning the art of delegation better would be his one flaw", the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic said of his SpaceX counterpart.

Virgin Galactic and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have been in a closely contested battle to get the first fare-paying passengers into space.

And Allen licensed the spaceplane tech to Branson for Virgin Galactic. This was a positive step forward after Virgin Galactic's 2014 fatal crash that killed test pilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold.

Since its founding in 2004, the spaceflight company has been on a rollercoaster to the cosmos: The White Knight Two carrier plan and suborbital SpaceShipTwo flew together in 2010. Branson and Virgin are direct competitors of Musk, among other players in the same field, as they are also developing hyperloop and space tourism programs.

Virgin Galactic will get people into space using slightly different means than the likes of NASA and SpaceX. It performed powered test flights in April and May.

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It also comes just months after Google employees protested en masse over the company's work with the United States military. The contract is winner-take-all, with Amazon seen as the frontrunner.

Last we heard of VSS Unity, it conducted a flight test that took it into the Mesosphere of the planet, 170,800 feet above sea level.

At the time Branson added that he hoped to become an astronaut within a year with Virgin Galactic. Tourists will be able to cross the imaginary boundary where space begins, or the line of the Pocket at an altitude of 100 kilometers.

Virgin Galactic now has about 800 passengers on its roster, all of whom have paid around $250,000 (£190,000) for a return trip to space.

The reusable New Shepard rocket and spacecraft is meant to carry up to six space tourists, researchers and/or experiments on brief suborbital flights, the company has said.

For comparison, astronauts at the orbiting International Space Station fly some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

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