Virgin Galactic will be in space in "weeks not months", says Branson

Virgin Galactic will be in space in “weeks not months,” says Branson

Billionaire Richard Branson says his space company, Virgin Galactic, might be out among the stars in a matter of weeks. 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".

"And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years", he continued.

Branson said part of the reason why he himself had such an "enjoyable life and a long life" is due to him finding "wonderful people" to run his companies, only getting involved with the key issues. Despite the $US250,000 ($350,834) price tag, however, some 800 people have bought Virgin Galactic tickets since they went on sale almost 15 years ago.

Branson's bold claims signal that Virgin Galactic may once again be a serious contender in the current space race with SpaceX, Boeing and Blue Origin.

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. Particularly in 2014 when a fatal crash occurred.

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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.

He said: "They believe in Elon Musk".

Virgin Galactic isn't the only private spaceflight services company out there.

Virgin Galactic will get people into space using slightly different means than the likes of NASA and SpaceX.

The first space tourists, who visited the International Space Station (ISS) in the 2000s, paid tens of millions of dollars for the privilege.

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Tuesday, Branson said the test flights are near.

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.

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. Right now the price of a Virgin Galactic ticket is nearly $250,000-and it won't be dropping anytime soon.

Tourists will spend several minutes floating in zero gravity, aboard a spaceship that approaches or passes through the Karman line, the boundary of Earth's atmosphere and space, some 62 miles (100 kilometers) high.

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