Virgin Galactic to reach space in 'weeks not months'

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 10, 2018

The new space race is well and truly underway, with Virgin Galactic founder and CEO Richard Branson saying the company will be in space "within weeks".

Speaking to CNBC, Sir Richard said: 'We should be in space within weeks, not months.

"It would be embarrassing if someone went back over the last thirteen years and wrote down all my quotes about when I thought we would be in space".

With launch after robotic launch, SpaceX keeps threatening to overtake Virgin Galactic.

Richard Branson has warned space race rival Elon Musk that he must "learn the art of delegation" and "get some sleep" if he is to avoid further controversy.

Space tourism has turned into a hot commodity in recent years.

He also insisted there was huge demand for commercial space flights.

"We will be in space with people not too long after that", he added.

Virgin Galactic is "neck and neck" with Blue Origin, run by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, to provide the first commercial spaceflight, Branson said in May.

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has said it aims for test flights by the end of 2018. Branson told the New Yorker earlier this year, but he says: "If you are an optimist and you talk ahead of yourself, then everybody around you has got to catch up and try to get there".

Branson's other space company, Virgin Orbit, has a contract with the Pentagon to launch "technology demonstration satellites", which it is aiming to do by 2019.

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

The business mogul has a long history of underestimating the time it takes his firm to get test flights into the air, and the company has repeatedly missed his lofty targets.

Despite several setbacks along the way, including the fatal crash of one of its proposed jets in California's Mojave Desert which killed the pilot three years ago, 700 tickets have already been sold for a trip into space on a Virgin Galactic craft. 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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