Test Flights in Space Are Just ‘Weeks Away’

Test Flights in Space Are Just ‘Weeks Away’

Test Flights in Space Are Just ‘Weeks Away’

British entrepreneur Richard Branson said Tuesday his Virgin Galactic company is just weeks away from launching space test flights. "And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years", he said. "We should be in space within weeks, not months".

Mr Branson's Virgin Group is the parent company of Virgin Galactic, which was founded in 2004 to develop commercial spacecraft for space tourism and space exploration. 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.

Even as Musk was forced to settle with the SEC over charges of securities fraud, paying a $20 million fine and stepping down as chairman of Tesla, he still appears to have the edge on Branson in the space race.

Bezos has said his space company, Blue Origin, is also expecting to pilot test flights by the end of 2018.

THE waiting list to travel to outer space on board Virgin Galactic's new spaceships first closed four years ago, but the demand to become a space traveller has far from waned.

Virgin Galactic completed its first supersonic flight since the infamous crash, which killed one test pilot and severely injured another, earlier this year. Within a few minutes, passengers will experience weightlessness.

"So I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts and go to space is huge". Yet Branson says he hopes to get ticket prices down to below $50,000 in a decade's time.

He has undergone astronaut, fitness and centrifuge training over recent months and now believes he will be ready for his maiden space voyage in a matter of months.

Virgin Galactic reached a top altitude of 170,800 feet (52,000 metres) during a test of its VSS Unity spacecraft, which has room for six passenger and is lifted toward space on a huge carrier aricraft, on May 29. To date, no private company has delivered on its promise to send tourists into space.

Branson's comments, it needs to be said, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said his space travel firm Blue Origin will launch a manned mission into space by 2019.

Related news