05.07.2021 – 09:59
British billionaire Richard Branson plans to beat billionaire and rival Jeff Bezos in space.
According to foreign media, the Telegraph reports, Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic, made a surprise announcement on Thursday that it will try to fly with Virgin Galactic on July 11 – nine days before Bezos’ scheduled departure on July 20.
The announcement puts Branson, instead of Bezos, able to become the first billionaire to travel in space aboard a spaceship he helped fund.
Virgin Galactic had planned to start flying customers years ago, but its development program was reversed by several disasters, including a 2014 test crash that resulted in the death of a co-pilot.
Their efforts have long been designed as a “space race for billionaires,” but in interviews, Branson has often said he is not interested in “racing” in space.
Otherwise, Blue Origin announced earlier in June that Bezos would be flying alongside his brother, Mark Bezos. They were later told they would be joined by Wally Funk – an 82-year-old woman who underwent training similar to NASA’s Mercury program but, like all American women at the time, was denied access to space – and the winner of an “auction” that offered over $ 28 million for the opportunity.