Virgin Galactic space shot is go 'within weeks, not months'


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

In a new interview with news website CNBC, Sir Richard said: "We should be in space within weeks, not months".

Branson, the founder and CEO of Virgin Galactic, has been investing in this venture since 2004, but if the comments he made yesterday at the Barclays Asia Forum in Singapore are to be believed, the company is finally on the cusp of entering space.

With a new space race heating up, two business titans could be set for a war of words of galactic proportions as Sir Richard Branson has offered some unsolicited advice to his rival Elon Musk.

Branson and his space company have continuously been conducting space flight tests these past years.

To prepare for his maiden voyage, Branson, 67, said, he's been training rigorously: cycling, playing tennis and spending time in a centrifuge to acquaint his body with the gravitational forces of space. His training includes extensive tennis and cycling.

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"I think that learning the art of delegation better would be his one flaw", the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic said of his SpaceX counterpart. The next phase of testing will see the rockets test their endurance and range, hopefully soon reaching the limits of space. To date, no private company has delivered on its promise to send tourists into space.

"Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are formidable competitors, and there's definitely room for all three companies", he said. Last year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted the space sector would be worth US$2.7 trillion by 2045.

The reusable New Shepard rocket and spacecraft is meant to carry up to six space tourists, researchers and/or experiments on brief suborbital flights, the company has said. This was a positive step forward after Virgin Galactic's 2014 fatal crash that killed test pilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold.

Meanwhile, another insurgent private space company, Blue Origin, founded by entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, just won the contract to provide its BE-4 engines to the behemoth United Launch Alliance.

At the time Branson added that he hoped to become an astronaut within a year with Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic has announced that its spacecraft will lift the space tourists to 68 miles (109 km) above the Earth's surface at a price of $ 250,000 per ticket.