Last week, Richard Branson made a bold claim, telling CNBC he is “pretty confident” that Virgin Galactic will have astronauts in (sub)orbit before Santa’s in our chimneys.
According to Branson, the first few trips into space will be flown by test pilots with no tourists on board, and, he’ll be the first passenger… once it’s safe, of course.
The verdict is still out on that
4 years ago, a pilot was killed during a VG test flight. The tragedy left a doubtful future for the space tourism company.
Still, several people are ready to pony up the $200k-$250k for a seat on VG’s “upgraded” design, SpaceShipTwo, that will take them up 50 miles past the earth’s atmosphere.
Unlike typical zero gravity flight (which generally allows 20-30 seconds of weightlessness), SpaceShipTwo lets billionaires feel alive again for a whopping 3 minutes.
Virgin Galactic is NOT SpaceX
In the future, Branson has his eyes set on the moon and beyond, as VG assumes its position as the playboy of the new private space race, alongside the likes of more serious space startups Blue Origins and SpaceX.
Dear Santa, please don’t send us to space with Richard Branson for Christmas.