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Not so soon, Jeff! Richard Branson plans space trip ahead of Bezos

Not so soon, Jeff! Richard Branson plans space trip ahead of Bezos

Jeff Bezos was scheduled to travel to space aboard the New Shepard launch vehicle of his company Blue Origin on July 20. But if Branson’s schedule holds, he will beat Bezos to it

Billionaire Richard Branson plans to go to space ahead of Jeff Bezos Billionaire Richard Branson plans to go to space ahead of Jeff Bezos

And the race is on! British billionaire Richard Branson said on Thursday that he too will travel to space -- nine days ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s scheduled trip. Branson will be a ‘mission specialist’ aboard the SpaceShipTwo Unity that will go to space on July 11, ‘pending weather and technical checks’, stated the British billionaire’s company Virgin Galactic.

Now, Jeff Bezos was scheduled to travel to space aboard the New Shepard launch vehicle of his company Blue Origin on July 20. So if Branson’s schedule holds, he will beat Bezos to it. 

The two rival billionaires also have rival companies planning to take tourists on short flights to suborbital space.

According to Virgin Galactic, Branson will evaluate the private astronaut experience and will undergo the same training, preparation and flight as Virgin Galactic's future astronauts. "The Company will use his observations from his flight training and spaceflight experience to enhance the journey for all future astronaut customers," it said.

The July 11 mission will be the twenty-second flight test for VSS Unity, and the company's fourth crewed spaceflight, Virgin said. Virgin Galactic will livestream the flight to space.

The company’s aircraft is a carrier airplane that will reach a high altitude and release a smaller spacecraft VSS Unity that will fire engines, reach suborbital space, and then come back to Earth.

"I truly believe that space belongs to all of us. After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind,” said Branson.

Regular commercial flights are expected to start in 2022 but two more tests are expected before that and after the Branson flight, said Virgin Galactic.

Bezos, on the other hand, is slated to fly to space along with his brother Mark, pilot Wally Funk and an unidentified person who pumped $28 million to join the suborbital joyride.

Also read: Blue Origin flight booked! Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to fly to space on July 20
Also read: Space trip with Jeff Bezos sells for $28 million