The British tycoon says his children are as excited as he is, although his wife is more cautious
He assures that he has told him: “If you are foolish enough to do these wonderful things, you can do it, but I will not go to your funeral.”
Virgin Galatic inaugurates this Sunday a race for space tourism in which Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX also compete
This Sunday is the big day for the founder of the company Virgin galactic. Sir Richard Branson claims that everything is ready for his journey into space, a feat in which he will overtake the magician Jeff bezos, who also plans a space flight with his brother and several other people, but that will launch nine days after Branson’s.
The British billionaire claims that his wife is nervous about the trip she is going to undertake on July 11, but that he is not at all. “I’ve been waiting for this for 17 years“Branson said in an interview recorded last Tuesday at Spaceport America, near the remote town of Truth or Consequences, in New Mexico.
For the tycoon, the mission preparations only add to his excitement for the journey, which will take place a week before his 71st birthday.
The flight It will consist of the launch of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc’s VSS Unity rocket plane over the desert. This is the fourth test mission with a crew on board that the space tourism company does, but it will be the first to carry a full crew. On board the space plane will go Richard Bransom himself, two pilots and three mission specialists.
The Unity rocket plane will launch at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (over 15,000 meters) from a Virgin Galactic mother plane. Once loose, the rocket plane will rise by its own means to the limit of space, where the crew will experience about 4 minutes of weightlessness before beginning a descent back to Earth.
A flight not without risks
The journey is not without the dangers inherent in any space flight. In fact, an earlier prototype of Virgin Galatic’s rocket plane crashed during a 2014 test flight over California’s Mojave Desert, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.
Asked about how his family took Branson’s announcement that he would fly in Sunday’s launch, the British mogul has commented that his children, adventurers like him, were excited, but that his wife’s reaction, while supporting him, was somewhat more cautious.
“My wife is the type of person who would be terrified on a Virgin Atlantic plane,” Bransom commented. “She is the last person who would want to do something like this. But he has known me since I tried to cross the Atlantic, the Pacific or go around the world, and he still seems to love me. ”
The billionaire has joked when he quoted the phrase his wife said to him when he found out: “If you are dumb enough to do these wonderful things, you can do it, but i won’t go to your funeral“.
War of egos with Bezos
By joining the flight on July 11, Branson has taken a ticket to space to get nine days ahead of fellow tycoon, Jeff Bezos. The Amazon co-founder has signed up to go up into space on a suborbital spacecraft flight New Shepard who is developing his own space company, Blue origin, and that will take place on July 20.
Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX. Or what is the same: Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk They are embroiled in a war for the emerging business of private space exploration. This new ‘private space race’ has already had his battles between Bezos and Musk on account of the NASA contract for the construction of the space lander for the American Space Agency’s Artemis program. A battle that SpaceX won with its Starship in the first instance but that is still being elucidated after complaints from Blue Origin for having been discarded as candidates.
As for getting first, a bit old-fashioned from Amundsen and Scott’s arctic duels, Bransom denies that his inclusion in the flight was to beat competitor Jeff Bezos. “I only wish him and the people who accompany him all the best. I hope I can talk to him about his trip when he returns, “and he added that he spoke with him two or three weeks ago, and that they both wished each other well.
The success of both companies is seen as key to fostering a flourishing industry that aims to make space tourism common. At least for those who can afford it. Virgin Galactic awaits start your business service as soon as next year.