Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson, 70, is set to jump Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos to become the first billionaire in space when the British entrepreneur launches into space on Sunday, nine days before Bezos’ first planned ascent.
Bezos had some good wishes for his fellow ultrawealthy aspiring astronaut prior to launch.
“Wish you and the entire team a successful and safe flight tomorrow,”
Bezos originally announced in June that he, his brother Mark, female aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and a $ 28 million auction winner would depart on July 20 on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship.
Branson then announced on July 1 that he was going to space on July 12.
“I really believe space belongs to all of us,” Said Branson by announcing the launch. “After 17 years of research, technology and innovation, the new commercial space industry is ready to open the universe to humanity and change the world for the better.”
Virgin orbit releases rocket from BOEING 747 IN MID-AIR TO SEND SATELLITES TO SPACE
Two pilots and three other mission specialists will be on board the plane, which has been nicknamed Eve after Branson’s deceased mother.
Virgin Galactic uses a unique air emission system where Eve will be flown about 50,000 feet by a four-engine, twin-hull jet called WhiteKnightTwo and then released into the air.
Eve’s engine then ignites and climbs toward space three times the force of Earth’s gravity.
When Eve reaches an altitude of 55 miles or nearly 300,000 feet, Branson and the crew will be able to observe Earth and the space of black through the spaceship’s 17 windows.
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Branson’s main role in the mission is to evaluate the cabin environment, the weightless experience and other elements of the trip that people will have to pay for in the near future.
“Leveraging Sir Richard’s expertise and long history of creating great customer experiences will be invaluable as we work to open the wonder of space travel and create impressive journeys for our customers,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, earlier this month.