Billionaire and founder of Virgin Galactic’s will this Sunday , July 11, will take off from a desert runway onboard the Virgin Galactic’s SpaceshipTwo Unity and the carrier aircraft VMS Eve.
The crew onboard will include two pilots, three employees and the company’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson.
Branson, who has invested over 16 years and more than $1 billion to finally make the short trip to the edge of space, experience weightlessness and gaze upon Earth as only a privileged few hundred other humans have.
Branson told NBC News:
“I always envisioned as a kid that a spaceship should look like this,” . “I just thought that’s how you should fly to space.”
Talk about bragging rights, Branson has scheduled his flight to take place nine days before fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos rides one of his Blue Origin rockets to space for the first time on July 20. Branson has insisted there is no race between himself and Bezos, but the timing is difficult to discount.
For decades humans have been sending a handfuls of people to space, but the idea of commercial spaceflights that is open to all has been more or less stagnant for a generation or two now. For the most part spaceflights to orbit has been limited to those who are financially privilege.
Now, with Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and also Elon Musk’s SpaceX, we are finally on the precipice of moving from quirky one-off space tourists to regular commercial trips to microgravity, orbit and maybe even the moon, Mars and beyond, with some hyperfast trips around the globe.