Richard Branson plans to beat Jeff Bezos to space. In series of events we see that first Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX had the vision and made it his life’s mission to take the common man to space. Then we saw the miraculous entry of Mr. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, world’s largest e-commerce website, who made an auction announcement that the person bidding the highest amount would be allowed to go with him for a short expedition in space. Jeff had actually planned to take this plunge to make his space company Blue Origin surpass the challenge taken by Elon and to actually prove to be ‘The first’ billionaire in space.
In a quick moment, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. founder Mr. Branson also plans to board a flight that will launch for space on July 11, beating both Elon and Jeff to be ‘The first’!!
The launch would be nine days before Mr. Bezos, the outgoing chief executive at Amazon.com Inc., is expected to do so on a craft operated by the space company he founded, Blue Origin.
The planned launches ferrying both men and their fellow crewmates highlight the competition between Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin to the edge of space. Passengers on suborbital flights may pay significant amounts to experience weightlessness and see Earth from vantage points few have witnessed.
In a statement, Blue Origin Chief Executive Bob Smith said the company wishes Mr. Branson a great, safe flight. He said Virgin Galactic doesn’t fly above the Karman Line, which is the imaginary boundary about 62 miles above sea level considered the beginning of space. “It’s a very different experience,” he said.
Virgin Galactic, according to a spokeswoman, flies above 50 miles, which she claims satisfies the definition of space as defined by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Trips could cost less than $500,000, according to Virgin Galactic executives, but the business hasn't revealed costs for the commercial service it plans to begin next year.Virgin Galactic's stock increased by 27% to $54.99.
The voyage will be Virgin Galactic's fourth crewed spaceflight and the first to include a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including Sir Richard Branson.
Mr. Branson said in a statement, "I'm honoured to assist validate the journey our future astronauts will take and ensure we offer the distinctive customer experience people expect from Virgin."
Virgin Galactic, which went public in 2019, employs a spaceship that is dropped from a high-flying jet that takes off from a facility in New Mexico and rockets into the lower region of space. Passengers will be able to float in space for a few minutes during flights, according to a spokesman, before the vessel glides back to Earth. In all, the trips take about 90 minutes.
Mr. Bezos' Blue Origin takes a different strategy, launching a capsule above the Karman Line using a reusable rocket. The capsule then uses a parachute to return to Earth. The journey takes roughly ten minutes.
Blue Origin announced earlier this week that Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pilot, will be a guest on its upcoming launch later this month.
Mr. Bezos’s brother Mark is also expected on the flight, as is an unnamed person who bid almost $30 million in a charity auction for a seat.