Richard Branson issues stark warning to rival Elon Musk

10 Octubre, 2018, 15:27 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will be in space 'within weeks, not months’

Speaking to CNBC in Singapore, the billionaire Virgin founder said the company was "more than tantalisingly close" to launching its first mission to space, and that he himself hoped to briefly leave Earth within "months not years".

"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".

'We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead'.

The feat would mark a milestone for the company which is in a race against Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX to offer space flights to wealthy would-be astronauts. In the most recent test in July, the space plane was released from its jet-powered carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, at 46,500 feet before the Unity's pilots lit its rocket.

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

But while Sir Richard believes Musk is "doing fantastically well" in getting cargo into space - including his own auto - the real tussle is between the Virgin boss and Bezos.

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Currently, some 700 people are on Virgin Galactic's waiting list (to the tune of US$250,000 (NZ$385,157) a ticket) for the company's first commercial flights, whenever they might be.

Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, originally promised suborbital flights - those that reach space without orbiting the planet - by 2009.

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has said it aims for test flights by the end of 2018. Right now the price of a Virgin Galactic ticket is nearly $250,000-and it won't be dropping anytime soon.

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.

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.

But Virgin boss Richard Branson has come out with some bullish words on Galactic's progress.

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