Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson to Beat Jeff Bezos to Space

Illustration for article titled In Big Middle Finger to Bezos, Richard Branson Set to Become the First Billionaire in Space

Photo: Johannis Eisele (Getty Images)

Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire Richard Branson introduced Thursday he’ll journey past the Earth’s ambiance in a check flight set for July 11. If the launch goes in accordance to plan, he’ll be the primary billionaire in area, setting the report simply 9 days forward of the primary deliberate spaceflight of one other obscenely wealthy astronaut wannabe—Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Talk about stealing the present.

“I’ve always been a dreamer,” Branson stated on Twitter. “My mum taught me to never give up and to reach for the stars. On July 11, it’s time to turn that dream into a reality aboard the next Virgin Galactic spaceflight.”

Two pilots and 4 missions specialists will journey aboard the VSS Unity with Branson, who shall be “testing the private astronaut experience,” Virgin Galactic stated in an announcement Thursday. The so-called Unity 22 mission would be the area tourism agency’s fourth crewed check flight of its spaceplane and marks an essential milestone within the race to commercialize journey past Earth’s ambiance.

“I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” Branson stated in an announcement alongside the corporate’s announcement. “After 17 years of research, engineering and innovation, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry poised to open the universe to humankind and change the world for good.”

Meanwhile, Blue Origin introduced last month that Bezos, the corporate’s founder, will journey to area aboard its first crewed flight of its New Shepard suborbital car on July 20. Alongside a number of crewmembers, he’ll be joined by his brother, Mark, and a mysterious bidder who dropped $28 million for the consideration of tagging alongside.

Reuters not too long ago reported that Branson was contemplating fast-tracking his personal mission to beat out Bezos’ deliberate journey. Virgin Galactic made a big step towards making {that a} actuality final week when it obtained an upgraded license from the Federal Aviation Administration to embody paying prospects on its area flights.

To date, the VSS Unity, which is designed to carry up to six passengers and two pilots, has accomplished 21 check flights. Following Branson’s journey, two extra check flights are nonetheless on the schedule earlier than Virgin Galactic expects to start industrial service in 2022, the corporate stated Thursday. It has some 600 reservations for seats on future flights, every ticket going for between $200,000 and $250,000.

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