British entrepreneur Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, says the private company will be in space for test flights “in weeks, not months”.
“We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years,” the billionaire said speaking to CNBC in Singapore Tuesday.
Sir Branson has undergone astronaut, fitness and centrifuge training in recent months. So, Richard now believes he will be ready for his maiden space voyage in a matter of months.
“We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead,” he added.
Sir Richard Branson has invested in space travel since 2004.
Branson’s Virgin Galactic is racing against Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to offer space flights to wealthy passengers. People willing to take their seats will have to pay $250,000 (£192,000).
But Branson said he hoped the price of a space flight would come down to around $40,000 or $50,000 over the next decade.”
However, companies will offer customers a weightless experience that will last just minutes, passing through the imaginary line marking where space begins or the 50-mile boundary recognized by the US Air Force.
At this altitude, the sky looks dark and you can see the curvature of the Earth clearly.
But these will not be the first tourists in space. In the 2000s, the first space tourists who visited the International Space Station (ISS) paid tens of millions of dollars.
However, the company added that the next phase of test flights will see its spaceship burn its rockets longer and go faster with the goal of reaching space.
Image thumbnail: Sir Richard Branson hangs out a window of his full-size SpaceShipTwo replica holding a scale model of LauncherOne. Credit: Hardo Müller