Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will take people to space before Christmas

Virgin Galactic will take people to space by Christmas, says Richard Branson Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will take people to space before Christmas
Kristen Harrington | 03 December, 2018, 01:09

The Virgin Galactic space flight would be made possible by the SpaceShipTwo, a Galactic rocket-powered plane created to accelerate to speeds of up to 2,300 miles per hour.

During an interview with CNN, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said that he was "pretty confident" that his space tourism venture will complete its first crewed flight before Christmas this year.

Virgin Galactic's journey to a successful space flight has not been without extraordinary challenges, one of which was in 2014 when a test flight crashed killing one of the copilots. "I'm not allowed up until the [test pilots] have broken it in a few times, first. I think once we're in space, we'll obviously need to do a number of other test flights before I go up, and then before we start putting the. astronauts who signed up to go into space with us".

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If Virgin Galactic is indeed able to meet what seems at present to be an extraordinary deadline, CNN noted that it will beat out the space ambitions of both Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX, the latter of which is now preparing for an unpiloted SpaceX Crew Dragon test flight in January ahead of a targeted crewed mission in June.

Earlier in 2018, the company resumed powered test flights of the rebuilt SpaceShipTwo, named VSS Unity. Tourists are eager, though.

It's worth noting that Branson has been overly optimistic about Virgin Galactic's timetable before. Also, officially, there is still no clearly defined date as to when Virgin Galactic will begin ferrying paying passengers beyond earth's atmosphere. Still, Branson said that he is "reasonably confident that before Christmas we will [send people to space]". "So none of us will race to be the first". Test pilots would, once in space, have an opportunity to test the SpaceShipTwo on various concepts including flight operations and safety mechanisms created to make the Virgin Galactic space program as safe as possible.

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But, he added, "Virgin Galactic will be the first". We hope to do extraordinary things. "Jeff, I'm sure, will do extraordinary things", Branson said. "The demand for space travel, whether it's satellites, putting people into space, is enormous.So, exciting times ahead".

Branson is known to set deadlines that aren't met. Branson considered abandoning the project but said he was convinced to carry on by a massive outpouring of public support.

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