Virgin Galactic space shot is go 'within weeks, not months'

Christopher Davidson
October 10, 2018

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

But now, Branson says, "We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years", he said.

Branson has previously said he thinks Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin would both "have a person in space roundabout the same time". 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.

Branson's quest for space travel started in 2004, when he won the rights to spacecraft technology of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft who funded a venture that flew a vehicle past the 100-kilometre edge of space three times.

Virgin Galactic is "neck and neck" with Blue Origin, run by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, to provide the first commercial spaceflight, Branson said in May. But the firm's plans have been delayed by numerous setbacks and the loss of the company's previous space plane in a 2014 accident that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

Virgin Spaceship Unity and Virgin Mothership Eve take to the skies on its first captive carry flight in 2016.

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Branson has had astronaut, fitness and centrifuge training to prepare himself for his trip into space.

When asked about consumer demand for space travel, he told CNBC: "I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts and go to space is huge".

According to the businessman, "The market for people who would love to become astronauts and go to space is big". Like most space travel plans, that mission has seen multiple delays and is now set for June 2019.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo on its first test flight in October 2010 to prove the glide-and-land design.

At the time Branson added that he hoped to become an astronaut within a year with Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic is a few steps behind its main competitor SpaceX, which last month announced it will be sending its first private citizen around the moon in 2023 - Japanese online fashion businessman Yusaku Maezawa.

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