Virgin to be in space 'within weeks'

Katie Ramirez
October 11, 2018

Needless to say, Musk is facing legal action for the former, and has received a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the latter.

Nonetheless, Sir Richard is undeterred and says there will be customer demand.

Branson's Virgin Galactic is racing against Amazon creator Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to launch the first out-of-this-world passenger flight and take paying passengers into space.

Virgin Galactic has already completed several successful trial flights this year.

Mr Branson said he will re-open the waiting list some time next year. He's got to find time for his health and for his family.

'And you know he's a wonderfully creative person.

Unlike Branson, however, Musk is a controversial figure, particularly because of his increasingly erratic behavior and tweets - ranging from accusations of pedophilia against a British cave diver, to stating that he was going to take Tesla private, much to the shock of shareholders. Last year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted the space sector would be worth US$2.7 trillion by 2045.

Hubble Space Telescope in safe mode after gyro failure
The Hubble telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, via the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. If not, the spacecraft will simply move on, running a "reduced-gyro" mode that uses only one spinning wheel.

Sir Richard said that learning the art of delegation might address Musk's "one flaw" - his controversial tweets. Branson and Virgin are direct competitors of Musk, among other players in the same field, as they are also developing hyperloop and space tourism programs.

"I'm sure there are many people on the Virgin Group board who may question my level of sanity, but I firmly believe that yes, space travel and space tourism can be truly sustainable", he told The Business Times in an exclusive interview. "We will be in space with people not too long after that, so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead", he added. But the firm's plans have been delayed by numerous setbacks and the loss of the company's previous space plane in a 2014 accident that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

Virgin Galactic will get people into space using slightly different means than the likes of NASA and SpaceX. Tourists will be able to cross the imaginary boundary where space begins, or the line of the Pocket at an altitude of 100 kilometers.

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

Sir Richard conceded earlier this year that the number of spurious claims he has made about Virgin Galactic flight dates was "embarrassing". Right now the price of a Virgin Galactic ticket is nearly $250,000-and it won't be dropping anytime soon.

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

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