Ο Richard Branson It is first billionaire who traveled in space on a rocket of his space company, Virgin Galactic. The company's spacecraft was launched over New Mexico early Sunday, transporting Branson and three colleagues into space.
Ο Branson, together with Virgin Galactic staff, Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirisha bandla and pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, boarded at SpaceShipTwo, a spacecraft with a single rocket engine, which the company has been designing for two decades. The spacecraft was launched and climbed to 50.000 feet.
Once at maximum height, the spacecraft was suspended for a few minutes, allowing Richard Branson and the rest of the crew to enjoy panoramic views of Earth and space.
Richard Branson also sent a message using SpaceShipTwo cameras: “To all the kids out there - I was once a kid with a dream and I was looking up at the stars. Now I'm an adult on a spaceship… If we can do that, just imagine what you can do too", he said.
This flight was the fourth test flight of the vehicle.
SpaceShipTwo's take-off was accompanied by a party hosted by Richard Branson with friends, family, employees and some VIPs.
Richard Branson's trip, which took place just nine days before the trip of billionaire Jeff Bezos, will be milestone for the commercial space industry. For years, space companies have been developing space vehicles that will be able to transport people to space, for the so-called space tourism.
Branson and Bezos are already considered competitors in this industry, as in addition to Branson finally traveling first in space, both companies (Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin) offer tickets to wealthy customers for short walks in the upper atmosphere.
Virgin Galactic intends to make another test flight before launching customer service. More than 600 people have booked tickets, worth $ 200.000 to $ 250.000. The company is expected to reopen ticket sales soon, although prices may be higher.
Branson's flight also boosts Virgin Galactic's reputation as "the world's first commercial space company".
However, whether Virgin Galactic will indeed be the first company in this industry is not yet clear. Jeff Bezos Space Company, Blue Origin, was about to send its founder into space before Branson, but Virgin Galactic made the surprise earlier this month by announcing that Branson 's flight would finally take place earlier.
The flight to Bezos is scheduled for July 20. However, the company has not started selling tickets to the public, nor has it set a specific date for when it intends to do so.
However, no company is expected to offer tickets that are affordable to the average American. Richard Branson revealed on Sunday that Virgin Galactic would draw lots for two free tickets.
Source: CNN International