In the race of space tourism, two mega international billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson were the first to announce their journey to space. Exactly 9 days before Jeff Bezos, Richard rocketed to space. This was not just a race between two space rivals, it is the start of commercial space tourism. Here’s everything you need to know about the space tourism industry and Richard Branson space travel story!
Billionaires & their Spacecraft
Initially, space was the territory of only government authorities or space agencies but now tables have turned. Now, billionaires from across the world are planning to build their own spacecraft and travel to space. This opens up new opportunities and a whole new domain to people as well. NASA has opted for private methods to prepare the hardware which helps in reducing the overall cost of traveling to space. SpaceX by Elon Musk has already reduced costs by millions.
Other than Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos, the first billionaire was Peter Diamandis. The first step was building their own space crafts. Peter Diamandis’s plan was to start a new trend by building the craft. It inspired others, especially Richard Branson.
Richard Branson obtained Scaled Composites and founded his own company to start working on spaceships. The company was named Virgin Galactic in 2004 and started to build a spaceship that will be able to carry 6 people. There were many failures before Branson’s team was able to create a successful spaceship.
“Today was the result of years of work and the enormous sacrifice by many,” George Whitesides, chairman of the Virgin Galactic Space Advisory Board
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Branson’s Space Odyssey
There was a 90-minute delay in Branson’s SpaceShipTwo. This successful mission was proof that the space odyssey is ready to take off with passengers and a ray of hope for space tourism.
Branson’s crew involved pilots David Mackay and Michael Masucci, Virgin astronaut trainer Beth Moses, flight engineer Colin Bennett and the company’s vice president of government relations, Sirisha Bandla.
The trip began in New Mexico at 8:40 am local time (14:40 GMT) from the company’s Spaceport America launch site near Truth or Consequences.
Branson’s space journey Richard Branson was straight out of a movie. The crew’s return was followed by live performances of R&B musician Khalid. Richard Branson set the bar high for Bezos who plans to take a spaceflight in the coming few days.
Bezos will be flying with his brother and a mystery bidder who was selected through a private auction last month benefitting Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s charity that supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The winning bid brought in $28m.
Along with them, 82-year-old Wally Funk will also join the Bezos space journey. She will be the oldest person to ever fly in space. Funk also has a record of longest time in an isolation tank in 1961.
“I know that my body and my mind can take anything that any space outfit wants to give me: high-altitude chamber test, which is fine; centrifuge test, which I know I can do five and six Gs. These things are easy for me.”- Funk
Elon Musk was present to cheer and support Richard Branson’s flight to space on Sunday from the sidelines. He has also purchased tickets on Virgin galactic.
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