Space race: Richard Branson trolls Elon Musk, says he must sleep more

Cristina Cross
October 11, 2018

Richard Branson has told CNBC that Virgin Galactic will begin making space flights in the next several months.

He admitted that it has taken him "at least seven years longer than I thought it would" for Virgin Galactic to reach this point, but he says the countdown is on for the first spaceship, which will take off in a matter of weeks. "We should be in space within weeks, not months".

He said the firm would be taking people into space "not too long after" that.

Despite the recent successful test flight after this tragic incident, it remains hard to believe that they will launch successfully so soon.

Even as Musk was forced to settle with the SEC over charges of securities fraud, paying a $20 million fine and stepping down as chairman of Tesla, he still appears to have the edge on Branson in the space race.

Today Virgin Australia today hosted the world's first dedicated meditation flight with Sir Richard Branson, with Aussie wellbeing and mindfulness leader Smiling Mind. Then, in 2016, the VSS Unity, which replaced the VSS Enterprise, completed its first glide test with flying colors and completed a few more powered flight tests in April and May.

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"So I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts and go to space is very big".

A Virgin Galactic spacecraft can accommodate two astronauts who will pilot it, along with six paying passengers. The ticket price could ultimately fall to $50,000, he said.

Once Virgin Galactic successfully establish its commercial trips to space, Branson plans to reduce the price of the ticket to around $40,000 United States dollars in the next ten years or so.

Branson funds the training of space travel since 2004, and initially hoped that in 2018 he will go into space. The company expects its New Shepard suborbital vehicle to carry the first space tourists into orbit in 2019. "He shouldn't be getting very little sleep", Branson told CNBC when asked what advice he would give his fellow billionaire.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin, and he is pumping in US$1 billion of his Amazon stock into the venture every year with the aim of launching a crewed mission next year.

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