Photo: Mark J. Terrill (AP) Billionaire Richard Branson really wants you to believe he will send people to space –…
Photo: Mark J. Terrill (AP)
Billionaire Richard Branson really wants you to believe he will send people to space – and soon. In a new interview with CNN, Virgin Group founder now says that he is “relatively safe” his spacecraft can beat competitors like Blue Origin and SpaceX with crew to space before Christmas.
Pointing to Branson’s long-term plans to send people to space – specifically managing the gap between 2007, when Branson initially said that Virgin Galactic would send people to space, and now CNN’s Rachel Crane asked how bad Branson would “prove [his] critics wrong.”
“Space is difficult. Rocket science is rocket science. This has taken us 14 years, and it has been Jeff Bezos 14 long years,” said Branson, referring to the Amazon CEO’s private spacecraft Blue Origin, who plans to start sell tickets to suborbital flights next year.
As Crane noted, Virgin Galactic has a track record promising that the company is close to transporting people to space just to get short. And that was already before the company’s ambitious plans were blocked by VSS Enterprise Test Flight Accident 2014, which killed a pilot and injured a pilot. It was only years ago that Virgin Galactic resumed crew test flights with its new SpaceShipTwo aircraft. Branson still says he is “reasonably sure that we arrive before Christmas [send people to space] “.
According to CNN, pilot pilots will be the first to make the voyage to Virgin Galactic, but Branson plans to take the rescue himself as his first passenger. (His children are likely to follow as among the first passengers to travel with Virgin Galactic to space, but he said.) But Branson told CNN that he was not “allowed until [test pilots] has broken it a few times first”. According to CNN:
SpaceShipTwo, the galactic rocket-driven plan, will fly into space after it loosens under the wing of a mother ship. It has been thoroughly tested on the ground and at lower altitudes, Branson said. But the first flights to space will be “the dangerous”.
Pilots fly the space plane at [ sic ] 2,300 miles per hour and accelerate to peak speeds of about eight seconds, says Branson.
If Virgin Galactic really can meet what currently seems to be an extraordinary deadline, CNN noted that it will erase space bidding for both Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, whose later is currently preparing for an opilotation spacecraft Dragonfly flight in January before a purposeful mission in June.
While Branson noted that security is most important when sending people to space, he added: “Virgin Galactic will be the first.”  We will see.