A Battle to reach and explore the outer space, and it is taking place between Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, but surprisingly Virgin Galactic’s Branson might bag the win. On Thursday night Richard Branson, the British billionaire who founded a galaxy of Virgin companies, announced that he would be a member of the crew on the next test flight of the Virgin Galactic space plane.

About the Virgin Galactic’s flight to outer space


Virgin Galactic Crew Members | Image Credit: Twitter

That flight is scheduled to take off on July 11 from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Aleanna Crane, vice president of communications for Virgin Galactic said that-

“The team was ready, so they asked Richard if he was ready to go, he said that it’s a big day. It’s a very exciting day.”

Branson got a chance to claim bragging rights

Mr. Branson will be in a position to claim bragging rights in a growing business of spaceflight for private citizens. Companies including Virgin Galactic and Mr. Bezos’s Blue Origin are constantly competing to launch paying passengers on suborbital and orbital trips in the coming years.

Also Read: Sirisha Bandla: the Second Indian-origin Woman to Fly to Space with Richard Branson

The story behind Virgin Galactic

Mr. Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, his goal was to provide short space tourist flights to the edge of space, and he has already said in the past that he will be a passenger on the first commercial flight. But development of the SpaceShipTwo, a winged rocket that flies to an altitude of more than 50 miles, has taken years longer than Mr. Branson have had expected.


Virgin Galactic Plane | Image Credit: Virgin Galactic

The biggest reasons behind the latency for the fight launch included the crash of the first SpaceShipTwo plane, V.S.S. Enterprise, in October 2014 during a test flight, which killed one of the two pilots. In 2019, Virgin Galactic became a publicly traded company, although Mr. Branson’s Virgin Group remains the largest shareholder, with a 24% share.

Ms. Crane said that the last flight had been so flawless that the team had decided to test the cabin experience.

“Who better to test the full cabin experience than Richard Branson? He is flying as a mission specialist and he that one thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all,”

Mr. Branson said in a statement.

“It’s another for an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality.”

Also Read: 82-year-old Wally all set to accompany Jeff Bezos to the space in the ‘New Shepard’

Plans about the broadcast

The company plans to broadcast the flight beginning at 9 a.m. (EST) on July 11. The SpaceShipTwo rocket, named Unity, will be carried under an airplane named White Knight Two to an altitude of 50,000 feet before being dropped. Unity’s engine will then ignite, taking it up to higher than 50 miles.

At the top of the arc, passengers will float for about four minutes before the space plane re-enters the atmosphere and glides to a runway landing. The craft will carry three other Virgin Galactic employees in the cabin seats in addition to the two pilots up front.

Also Read: Vandi Verma: Indian-origin NASA Engineer drives Perseverance Rover on Mars

What are the chances of Branson’s win?

If all goes as planned, Mr. Branson will make his flight nine days before Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon is all ready to explore the outer space with the New Shepard capsule built by his rocket company, Blue Origin. New Shepard has flown to the edge of space 15 times but has yet to carry any people. It is fully automated, without pilots.

Constant chaos between the space company leaders

Billionaires like Mr. Branson, Mr. Bezos and Elon Musk are the vanguard in a new age of commercial spaceflight, accompanied by verbal sarcasm, sometimes playful, sometimes commencing a debate about whose company is better.

Recently on Wednesday, during an appearance on CNBC, Mr. Branson was asked if he was trying to beat Mr. Bezos to space. “Jeff who?” Mr. Branson replied with a straight face before laughing. As like the rest of the crew.”

Check the interview here