According to British billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is ‘tantalizingly close’ to its very first trip to space.
Richard Branson has founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 and did not get much rest ever since – the company flew The White Knight Two carrier plan and the suborbital SpaceShip Two in 2010.
Four years ago, the VSS Enterprise broke in mid-air and killed its pilot, Michael Alsbury and badly injured pilot Peter Siebold. 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.
Later on, in June, the VSS Unity broke Mach 2 speed in a 42-second rocket burn test.
Now, Branson told CNBC that getting regular people in space will happen much sooner than anyone else anticipated:
“We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years. We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead”
Branson himself will be the first passenger to board the Virgin Galactic’s maiden voyage and, after undergoing health and fitness tests, he will board the spacecraft into the journey he’s been ready for since many years ago.
Currently, the fare for getting on a Virgin Galactic spaceship stands at roughly $250,000 and it’s not expected to come down any time soon. Keep that in mind if you’re ready to take the trip – you’ll have to dig pretty deep into that piggy bank to be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmos.