Tourism space race: Virgin Galactic will announce launch within weeks

Richard Branson said Monday his Virgin Galactic will begin space test flights in a matter of weeks. File

Virgin Galactic will take its first trip into space within weeks according to Richard Branson, the firm's billionaire chief and founder.

When asked about consumer demand for space travel, he told CNBC: "I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts and go to space is big". Branson told the New Yorker earlier this year, but he says: "If you are an optimist and you talk ahead of yourself, then everybody around you has got to catch up and try to get there".

Richard Branson has warned space race rival Elon Musk that he must "learn the art of delegation" and "get some sleep" if he is to avoid further controversy. The original expected launch date was April 2018.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme, Sir Richard said he was receiving astronaut, centrifuge and fitness training. His training includes extensive tennis and cycling.

The Virgin founder revealed this week that his company is just weeks away from its first test flight beyond orbit, with manned missions planned "not too long after". The next phase of testing will see the rockets test their endurance and range, hopefully soon reaching the limits of space.

Pipeline ruptures, sparks massive fire north of Prince George, B.C.
The blast Tuesday evening shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver. The company will update its customers as soon as it is in a position to offer something new, said Stout.

5 things that doomed the Yankees vs. the Red Sox in ALDS
A night after three of his calls at first base were reversed on video reviews, Angel Hernandez was the plate umpire. The Red Sox made it 4-0 when Vazquez lined a 2-1 fastball into the right field seats off Zach Britton.

Australian government backs coal despite 'global catastrophe' climate warning
Thanks to a poor winter and long-term drought, New Mexico's largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, is now at 3.2 percent capacity. It notes that the contributions of glaciers to sea level rise in the present century can not be distinguished statistically.

Virgin Galactic is "neck and neck" with Blue Origin, run by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, to provide the first commercial spaceflight, Branson said in May. In the most recent test in July, the space plane was released from its jet-powered carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, at 46,500 feet before the Unity's pilots lit its rocket.

"If I have a room full of 10 people, eight out of 10 would love to go to space if they could afford it", he said.

CEO George Whitesides told the Albuquerque Journal this August that while the company no longer gives a timeline for when commercial operations might begin, he said its long-anticipated move to New Mexico was drawing near. Neither company, however, has provided any details of ticket prices.

Virgin Galactic has announced that its spacecraft will lift the space tourists to 68 miles (109 km) above the Earth's surface at a price of $ 250,000 per ticket.

The company plans to conduct several more supersonic test flights this year. "I love life, I love people, I love learning, and I love the variety of what I do", said the man who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a "tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist and troublemaker who believes in turning ideas into reality".

Related:

Comments

Latest news

AP Analysis: Missing writer shows Saudi Arabia's dark side
Khashoggi was once a Saudi newspaper editor and is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks. The interview was conducted three days before Khashoggi's disappearance, when he was in London for a conference, the BBC said.

Hurricane Michael weakens to tropical storm as it crosses Georgia
About eight hours after landfall, Michael was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, with top sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph). The remainder of Georgia, the Carolinas, and southern Virginia...3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches.

Video Shows Hurricane Michael Ripping Apart Buildings in Florida
The storm hit roared ashore along the Florida Panhandle, between Tyndall Air Force Base and Mexico Beach , according to NASA . Last Thursday, forecasters were saying that what was then called Tropical Storm Michael " does not pose a threat to land ".

Federer's dire warning for 'borderline' Nick Kyrgios
It is the third successive year in which the Australian has gone out of the tournament in controversial fashion. Swedish umpire Mohamed Lahyani was reprimanded by U.S.

International Monetary Fund downgrades SA's 2018 growth forecast to 0.8%
The IMF said the global economy would grow 3.7 per cent this year, the same as in 2017 but down from the 3.9 per cent it was forecasting for 2018 in July.

Gyroscope Malfunction Forces NASA To Put Hubble Into 'Safe Mode'
Assuming the team can rescue the malfunctioning gyroscope, Hubble will resume operations in its standard three-gyro configuration. If Hubble breaks down completely before that date, astronomers will be without a space telescope.

British tourists among Majorca flood victims
More than 8 inches of rainfall fell in just a few hours on Tuesday morning, according to the Spanish weather company Aemet. After opening his academy to flood victims, Rafael Nadal volunteered to help clear homes of water and mud.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte to star in Royal Wedding
They weren't included in Harry and Meghan's wedding so they're sure to be excited about the second royal wedding of the year . The Earl and Countess of Wessex's children, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn will be special attendants on the day.

Sears could file for bankruptcy as soon as this week
CNBC earlier reported that the company was arranging a bankruptcy loan, known as debtor-in-possession financing. Shares of real estate investment trusts (REIT) exposed to Sears properties also fell Wednesday.

Wall Street dives, setting the ASX up for heavy losses at open
The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology stocks, tumbled 244 points, or 3.2 percent, to 7,495. The Fed aims to raise rates to about 3 per cent. "I believe this selling is an overdone panic", Feinseth said.

Ross Barkley feels more mature after two years in England wilderness
Last season, City only lost two games and played a few draws. "Because we play against top nations, because it's for something".

Focus on children's mental health, WHO urges African leaders
There are not enough specialised hospitals or specialised psychiatric hospital beds for children and adolescents. With the growing awareness about mental health, it's possible that you picked up on some warning signs.

Elliott Pulls Out A Victory In Dover Cup Race
Two laps later, the Dover spring victor was forced to return after his left rear tire went flat when a lug nut broke a valve stem. OF NOTE Rain washed out qualifying Friday, setting the lineup on points and giving the top dozen spots to the 12 playoff drivers.

Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis
It is thought that by 2100, global sea rise levels would be 10cm lower that if global warming were to be at 2C. At 1.5 degrees, the report finds that 70 to 90 percent of tropical coral reefs will vanish.

What is Google Home Hub and how does it work?
There are also other bundles , mostly focusing on Nest (also owned by Google) smart home products and the new Home Hub display. However, Google's upping the ante a bit by adding a bit of home-control interface to the mix via the Home View feature.

Other news