Richard Branson issues stark warning to rival Elon Musk

Richard Branson issues stark warning to rival Elon Musk

Richard Branson issues stark warning to rival Elon Musk

Virgin Galactic is expecting to send its first rocket to space "within weeks", CEO Richard Branson said on Tuesday.

"We will be in space with people not too long after that", he added. And that'll be a legitimate offsettable business expense for professional Instagrammers, so there ought to be loads of them up flying about up there, pouting in front of small, black windows.

Musk has reached dizzying heights with his numerous private space deliveries to the International Space Station at an altitude of around 1.4 million feet (408,000 metres), but is yet to fly any of his planned passenger-carrying craft.

Virgin Galactic is now in a tight race with Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin to launch the first space passenger flight which will bring paying passengers within the boundaries of Earth's atmosphere and space known as the Karman line.

In the past few months, Branson has developed a training program and train future astronauts in a centrifuge, preparing their journey.

"I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts, and go into space is big, and I think it's up to us to produce as many spaceships as we can to cater to that demand", he said. It is likely that Virgin Galactic is aiming to keep up with SpaceX and Boeing who, despite delays and difficulties, are set to launch test flights in 2019.

Virgin Galactic now has about 800 passengers on its roster, all of whom have paid around $250,000 (£190,000) for a return trip to space.

Virgin Galactic was founded by Branson in 2004.

As for the ones to follow in his footsteps, Branson says the $250,000 ticket price is no impediment for those truly desiring to go to the stars.

The reusable New Shepard rocket and spacecraft is meant to carry up to six space tourists, researchers and/or experiments on brief suborbital flights, the company has said.

Smiling Mind CEO Dr Addie Wooten said: "As little as a couple of minutes of meditation can improve our overall sense of calm and wellbeing during a flight".

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin, and he is pumping in US$1 billion of his Amazon stock into the venture every year with the aim of launching a crewed mission next year.

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