Space company Virgin Galactic’s founder Richard Branson is set to become the first billionaire to escape the earth and reach space. He’s set for a test flight on July 11 — nine days before retiring Amazon chief Jeff Bezos does the same.
Branson will take flight in VSS Unity along with a crew of six, consisting of pilots and space mission specialists. This is the company’s fourth test flight, but the first one with a full crew on board.
The firm said it’ll live stream the event across various platforms to hype this up — and probably rub the success in Bezos’ face. Last month, it got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to take passengers to space. The company plans to launch space flights for paying customers in 2022.
Just like any other billionaire, Branson uttered cliched lines like “I’ve always been a dreamer. My mum taught me to never give up and reach for the stars.”
I’ve always been a dreamer. 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 @VirginGalactic spaceflight https://t.co/x0ksfnuEQ3#Unity22pic.twitter.com/GWskcMSXyA
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 1, 2021
This flight will grant bragging rights to the Virgin Atlantic owner over Bezos, who’s set to reach space with his brother and a mysterious paying customer on July 20. Bezos’ Blue Origin flight will also feature Mary Wallace Funk, an 82-year-old-pilot, who was barred from going to space owing to gender bias in the 1960s.
"Mary Wallace Funk, a trailblazing 82-year-old pilot who was prevented from becoming an astronaut in the 1960s because she was a woman, will join Jeff Bezos on his rocket ship company’s first human flight into space…"https://t.co/g7ihLyxtKxpic.twitter.com/bB28vif8Vz
— Subrahmanyam KVJ (@SuB8u) July 2, 2021
In an interview with CNBC, when asked about this space race with Bezos, Branson jokingly said, “Jeff who?”
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) June 30, 2021
In a statement, Branson said, “I truly believe that space belongs to all of us.” I can’t wait to take the bus to the moon, Richard.