Branson says Virgin Galactic to launch space flight ‘within weeks’

Gwen Vasquez
October 11, 2018

Speaking with CNBC's Nancy Hungerford in Singapore on Tuesday, Branson said: "We should be in space within weeks, not months".

'We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead'. 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. It is likely that Virgin Galactic is aiming to keep up with SpaceX and Boeing who, despite delays and difficulties, are set to launch test flights in 2019.

The feat would mark a milestone for the company which is in a race against Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX to offer space flights to wealthy would-be astronauts.

THE waiting list to travel to outer space on board Virgin Galactic's new spaceships first closed four years ago, but the demand to become a space traveller has far from waned.

Sir Richard also revealed this week that his space venture is "weeks away" from sending one of its rockets into space for the first time.

Meanwhile, another insurgent private space company, Blue Origin, founded by entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, just won the contract to provide its BE-4 engines to the behemoth United Launch Alliance. This does, of course, put him into direct competition with Elon Musk for the first commercial space flight!

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Then there is Tesla founder Elon Musk's Space Explorations Technologies - better known as SpaceX - which has been reported to be planning to launch a flight to circle the moon in 2023.

But he said they "are not in a race to get to space". Tourists will be able to cross the imaginary boundary where space begins, or the line of the Pocket at an altitude of 100 kilometers.

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. Since then, the company has already enlisted around 800 passengers who paid $250,000 United States dollars each for a return ticket on the Virgin Galactic.

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

The company first promised sub-orbital spaceflight trips for tourists by the start of 2009.

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