Englishman and business mogul, Richard Branson, has successfully taken flight into space aboard a his Virgin Galactic supersonic spacecraft.
Virgin Galactic is a commercial spacecraft transportation company and aims to provide suborbital space flights to space tourists.
Asides Branson, the flight took three other passengers – Virgin Galactic employees Beth Moses, Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla and the two pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci to the edge of space, at the height of the flight path, more than 80km above the Earth, suspending weightless for a while, where the passengers were given a view of the Earth from space, before returning to Earth.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, christened VSS Unity by Stephen Hawking, began test flights in 2016 but wasn’t the first plane Branson had funded. The founder of the Virgin Group of companies saw his plan of making it to space in 2015 crash after the initial version of the vehicle, VSS Enterprise, broke apart mid-flight October 2014, killing one astronaut and injuring the other.
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Branson becomes the first person in space, aboard his own company’s commercial vehicle, beating fellow billionaire Jeff Bezoz to the punch.
Jeff Bezoz had earlier announced that he would be flying aboard the first crewed launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. If successful the Amazon billionaire would look to provide competition to Branson in a new space tourism industry that would offer tickets to wealthy customers for a journey to the upper atmosphere aboard a supersonic, rocket-powered spacecraft.