WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are racing to space.
- The Amazon CEO announced this week that he plans to fly to space ahead of rivals Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson on July 20.
- Reports say the Virgin Galactic founder might beat Bezos as he plans to make a suborbital flight “over the July 4 holiday weekend.”
The race is on among billionaires. Who is going to reach space first?
If reports swirling around are true, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson could beat Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
On Monday, Bezos announced that he and his brother would be flying to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepherd spacecraft on July 20. The date coincides with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
However, Branson could beat his billionaire rival. According to a report by US space journalist Doug Messier on the Parabolic Arc website, “Virgin Galactic is working on a plan to send Branson on a suborbital flight aboard the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane over the July 4 holiday weekend.”
That could mean Branson would fly to space ahead of Bezos by 16 days.
Though Messier did not name his source, he’s known to be connected to credible sources in the past.
Branson’s space company has neither confirmed nor denied the report. Ars Technica reached out to Virgin Galactic to confirm the report.
“We are in the process of analyzing the data from our successful May 22nd flight,” Virgin Galactic responded. “As previously announced, we expect to complete the final test flights this summer through to early fall. At this time, we have not determined the date of our next flight.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has to issue an operator’s license to Virgin Galactic before it could fly anyone into suborbital space.
According to Messier’s source, the license should be issued in early July. That would mean the space flight is still likely to take place given other turnaround times after tests of the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane.
VSS Unity, which can carry two pilots and six passengers, has already made successful tests in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Its goal is to one day fly tourists into suborbital space.
Virgin Galactic could begin commercial flights in 2022.
Source: The Sun