Virgin Galactic to launch space flight 'within weeks'

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

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

A few months after another successful test flight over the Mojave Desert, billionaire Richard Branson says his space company, Virgin Galactic, might be out among the stars in a matter of weeks.

When British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson hosted a dinner in Singapore on Monday night, two people at the meal each shelled out a six-figure sum, reportedly around US$250,000, the full price of each ticket.

With the first flight set to launch in weeks, he has also said that passengers can expect to follow "very shortly after". Despite the $US250,000 ($350,834) price tag, however, some 800 people have bought Virgin Galactic tickets since they went on sale almost 15 years ago. Neither company, however, has provided any details of ticket prices. To date, no private company has delivered on its promise to send tourists into space. 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. "And it is up to us to produce as many spaceships as we can to cater with that demand".

Virgin Galactic, founded by Branson in 2004, is working to carry tourists on a brief journey to space, dozens of miles above the Earth's surface.

But while Sir Richard believes Musk is "doing fantastically well" in getting cargo into space - including his own vehicle - the real tussle is between the Virgin boss and Bezos.

Like all shrewd businessmen, Mr Branson welcomes the competition, but he maintains that Virgin Galactic will beat the others to the punch.

Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, where commercial flights will originate.

Google drops out of bidding for massive Pentagon cloud contract
In a statement , Google said they "couldn't be assured that [the deal] would align with [their] AI Principles ". The company later said it would entirely ban the development of AI software that can be used in weapons systems.

Needless to say, Musk is facing legal action for the former, and has received a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the latter.

At this point, it really is hard to say who is going to achieve the landmark first. In the Asia-Pacific, there are seven clubs each in Thailand and Australia.

The company plans to conduct several more supersonic test flights this year.

"No, I don't think I can fully retire".

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

"I think it would be a waste of the position that I find myself in today, where I can continue to make as positive a difference as I can while I'm still alive".

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