Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson will journey to the sting of area on Virgin Galactic’s take a look at flight on 11 July, Branson’s area tourism agency stated on Thursday, beating fellow aspiring billionaire astronaut Jeff Bezos.
A profitable flight by Branson aboard Virgin’s VSS Unity spaceplane would mark a key milestone in a race to usher in a brand new period of personal industrial area journey.
It will additionally imply that Branson would journey past Earth’s environment forward of Bezos, the founding father of rival area tourism enterprise Blue Origin.
Bezos, who based retail big Amazon.com, is slated to fly to area on 20 July alongside together with his brother, Mark, trailblazing feminine pilot Wally Funk and a so-far unidentified one who plunked down US$28-million to affix the suborbital joyride.
The race, which additionally consists of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, is underpinned by optimism that area journey will develop into mainstream as nascent know-how is confirmed and prices fall, fueling what UBS estimates may very well be a $3-billion annual tourism market by 2030. Musk has not set a date for his area flight.
“Virgin Galactic stands on the vanguard of a brand new industrial area trade, which is about to open area to humankind and alter the world for good,” Branson stated in an announcement accompanying Virgin’s announcement.
Branson’s 11 July mission would be the 20s flight take a look at for VSS Unity, and the corporate’s fourth crewed spaceflight, Virgin stated. However will probably be the primary to hold a full crew of two pilots and 4 “mission specialists”, together with Branson.
Two extra take a look at flights are deliberate earlier than Virgin expects to start industrial service in 2022, Virgin stated. — Reported by Eric M Johnson, (c) 2021 Reuters