Richard Branson says he'll fly to space by July

Richard Branson says he has invested more than a billion dollars into Virgin Galactic over the last couple of decades
Richard Branson says he has invested more than a billion dollars into Virgin Galactic over the last couple of decades

British billionaire Richard Branson plans to travel to space within the next four or five months aboard his own Virgin Galactic spaceship, he told AFP Thursday.

"My wish is to go up on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, that's what we're working on," the head of the Virgin group said on the sidelines of an event to honor Virgin Galactic at the Air and Space Museum in Washington.

The American Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon July 20, 1969.

Virgin Galactic is one of two companies, along with Blue Origin, on its way to sending passengers into —though just barely, and just for a few minutes.

The companies want to send hundreds or thousands of people on these short "suborbital" flights, meaning they wouldn't get high enough to orbit the earth.

These missions would be shorter and more affordable than SpaceX's planned project to send a Japanese billionaire to the moon by 2023 at the earliest.

Virgin Galactic flew 50 miles (80 km) above the earth, which the US considers the edge of space, for the first time in December (the international consensus is 100 km).

Virgin Galactic's spaceship, called SpaceShipTwo, is commanded by two pilots.

To take off, it's dropped by a carrier plane like a bomb, then starts its own engine to jet off straight into the sky, eventually climbing high enough to see the curvature of the earth.

The craft hovers and descends naturally, gliding back towards its original departure point, Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

It will be able to carry six passengers along with its two pilots.

Branson has previously announced dates for this first trip into space, though they've always come and gone without the voyage happening.

But this time the businessman claims preparations are in their final stages.

"By July we should have done enough testing," he said.

But he doesn't want to make any promises he can't keep: "I need to wait for our team to say they're 100% happy. I don't want to push them," he said, but thinks they'll be ready for clients by the end of the year.

He told AFP Virgin Galactic costs him $35 million a month; previously, he said he had invested more than a billion dollars in the venture since the 2000s.

According to Branson, the SpaceShipTwo's next test flight is planned for February 20, depending on weather conditions.


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Feb 08, 2019
Experience this Earth in Weightlessness

Oh to be these first Lucky Few
It's the culmination of his life's work
as he watches his life
pass before his eyes
time waits for no man
he has his final chance
a chance of a life time
that if Richard
fails in his chance
fails to take his chance
along with these lucky few
if Richard
fails to climb these rungs
these rungs of his interplanetary craft
Richard will forever dream in this forever after
of what might have been
of what it is like
to
be
these first lucky few
these tourists in the history of mankind
to
Experience this Earth in Weightlessness

Feb 08, 2019
Yeah, but Branson ain't even gonna orbit. So who cares? Musk is going to f'ing Mars! His *car* is in orbit.

Feb 08, 2019
Let's hope he stays there.

Feb 08, 2019
Whatever it take to get the public comfortable with not only the technical feasibility, but also the economic feasibility of working in and outside of earth orbit. We need to start harvesting dem asteroids and comets.

Just out of curiosity has anyone done any studies on modeling the effect of potential human activity in the asteroid belt? We went willy nilly on harvesting Earth, lets at least ponder the various consequences of our activities in the greater system.

Feb 08, 2019
Yeah, but Branson ain't even gonna orbit. So who cares? Musk is going to f'ing Mars! His *car* is in orbit.


Musk got handed technology and several billion dollars in contracts from NASA to shoot stuff into space in an effort to show that NASA is transferring technology to "private" companies, and that the whole space program isn't just an aimless boondoggle, and therefore deserves continued and increased public funding.

Branson does what he does with his own money.

Feb 08, 2019
I am with Jayarava on this. Branson put a lot of PR to define how much air pressure there should be to classify his flight as space flights. That is, to make his low hop flights to be considered as 'space flights' for paying customers, so they can place the plaque certifying that on their walls (or wherever).
Why bother? Branson is in 'space' on his yacht as well. Just 'space' with more air.


Feb 08, 2019
"The companies want to send hundreds or thousands of people on these short "suborbital" flights, meaning they wouldn't get high enough to orbit the earth."

That's not what "suborbital" means.

Feb 09, 2019
Musk got handed technology and several billion dollars in contracts from NASA to shoot stuff into space in an effort to show that NASA is transferring technology to "private" companies, and that the whole space program isn't just an aimless boondoggle, and therefore deserves continued and increased public funding.y.


SpaceX got contracts because they had a working booster at the time. Musk changed the way that NASA contracted out (from cost plus to competitive fixed price) to make the whole thing cheaper and more efficient.

Branson does what he does with his own money.


"in 2010 the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, Aabar Investments group, acquired a 31.8% stake in Virgin Galactic for US$280 million," (Wikipedia)

Virgin Galactic also has a NASA contract - though of course it is much smaller because they cannot get into orbit

Feb 09, 2019
Good luck Richard and happy landings!

Feb 09, 2019
Jayarava, over time you will notice that Eikka is very selective with his "facts". Every so often he manages to get one or two right, but then even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again, and a stopped clock is right twice daily.

Feb 09, 2019
Branson & Musk. The utube viewings, watching them puking their guts out, should achieve historical numbers.
Now that's advertising you can't buy!
"Oh, such memories... Let the good times roll!"

Turing, there are several articles on Wiki about mining the asteroid belt. & if you browser the subject probably a lot more.

Plus a whole lot of penny-stock entrepreneurs trying to wheedle you into looking at their prospectus!
Just ask yourself.
If they had a real product?
Why in the World?
Any World
Would they need your few bucks?

At our present level of technology? We can just begin yo consider catching & branding the rocks in Earth orbit or passing close by.

Jeep in mind, the asteroids are only valuable if kept in Space. Used in Space.
Bring a million Kgs of gold down to Earth? Wouldn't be worth a wooden nickel.
The really valuable rocks will be containing carbon & phosphates & ices. But only in Space!
Using EFT you could sell rights to gold kept in orbit.

Feb 09, 2019
Musk got handed technology and several billion dollars in contracts from NASA to shoot stuff into space in an effort to show that NASA is transferring technology to "private" companies, and that the whole space program isn't just an aimless boondoggle, and therefore deserves continued and increased public funding
Uh you gotta source for this? Mother Jones maybe?

Feb 09, 2019
Branson's really old so what's he got to lose? Look at the picture - he even has to use his fingers to smile.

Feb 11, 2019
Branson, Musk and Bezos should combine programs and all go up at once.

Feb 11, 2019
Tritium comes to mind as being worth mining from the asteroid belt, given today's prices per ounce.

Also consider all the resources we'll just plain run out of on the earth, and very soon. For example, there isn't enough lithium on the planet for 7 billion laptops and 7 billion electric cars. . .


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