Virgin Group founder and British billionaire, Sir Richard Branson is poised to beat the founder of Amazon and one of the richest men in the world, Jeff Bezos, to space.
Bezos had earlier announced he would be travelling to space on July 20, aboard the New Shepherd launch vehicle developed by his company Blue Origin.
In a surprising development, Branson announced he would be a ”mission specialist” aboard the SpaceShipTwo Unity launched by his company Virgin Galactic. The journey to space was scheduled to be as early as July 11. This means if ”weather and technical checks” are perfect, the British knight will breathe the air in space before Bezos.
According to a statement by Virgin Galactics, Branson “will evaluate the private astronaut experience and will undergo the same training, preparation and flight as Virgin Galactic’s future astronauts.
“The Company will use his observations from his flight training and spaceflight experience to enhance the journey for all future astronaut customers,” Virgin Galactic said.
The two billionaires will not be traveling to space in a typical rocket. Both of them founded rival companies to take tourists on short flights to suborbital space.
”I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” Branson said.
Meanwhile for Bezos; ”To see the Earth from space, it changes you,”
“I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life”.