Virgin Galactic to be in space 'in weeks,' owner Branson says

11 October, 2018, 14:54 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Richard Branson said Monday his Virgin Galactic will begin space test flights in a matter of weeks. File

In the most recent test in July, the space plane was released from its jet-powered carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, at 46,500 feet before the Unity's pilots lit its rocket.

When asked whether he had any concerns about consumer demand regarding fare-paying space flights, Branson said: "If I have a room full of 10 people, eight out of 10 would love to go to space if they could afford it".

But Sir Richard has a long history of underestimating the time it takes his firm to get test flights into the air, and the company has repeatedly missed his lofty targets.

Sir Richard conceded earlier this year that the number of spurious claims he has made about Virgin Galactic flight dates was "embarrassing".

Richard Branson previously said he was "months" away from launching Virgin Galactic's first rocket into space - on Tuesday he said it will happen within "weeks".

"We should be in space within weeks, not months". Branson was referring to the Virgin Galactic spaceship being developed by the company for future commercial trips into space. Billionaire Paul Allen funded the original SpaceShipOne, which breached the edge of space back in 2004. In 2014, an early version of a Virgin Galactic spacecraft pulled apart and crashed during a test flight over the Mojave, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

After that, it will be closer to its goal of offering commercial spaceflight to the 600 patrons who have paid $250,000 for a ride.

‘Hit squad’ left Turkey with Saudi consulate CCTV footage
In his last interview three days before his disappearance, he said he did not think he would return to Saudi Arabia. Suspicions are mounting that Saudi's crown prince ordered the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

Once Virgin Galactic successfully establish its commercial trips to space, Branson plans to reduce the price of the ticket to around $40,000 Dollars in the next ten years or so.

The total trip time would last between 90 minutes and two hours.

"For space travel, the demand will far outstrip supply".

Branson, of course, is not alone in his mission: The British entrepreneur is in a closely-fought race with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who will reportedly charge $200,000 to $300,000 for a seat on one of its Blue Origin rockets.

Branson's other space company, Virgin Orbit, has a contract with the Pentagon to launch "technology demonstration satellites", which it is aiming to do by 2019.

The first space tourists that have visited in the 2000s, the worldwide space station (ISS), paid tens of millions of dollars for this opportunity. Tourists will be able to cross the imaginary boundary where space begins, or the line of the Pocket at an altitude of 100 kilometers.

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