— Swashbuckling entrepreneur Richard Branson hurtled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship Sunday in his boldest adventure yet, beating out fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo space plane Unity returns to earth after the mothership separated at Spaceport America, near Truth and Consequences, New Mexico on July 11, 2021. Branson, who boasts a net worth of about $7.7 billion, tweeted a picture of the two billionaire space tycoons accounting together on Sunday, the morning of the flight. Upon its release, a pilot flying the spacecraft rockets the vessel into suborbital space. The craft that launched into space with Richard Branson and other crew members July 11 is called the VSS Unity. Virgin Galactic’s method for getting passengers to space starts with an airplane attached to a spacecraft. The twin-fuselage plane takes the spacecraft to an altitude of around 45,000 feet, where it is released.
Branson’s Virgin Galactic offers a pricey space tourism experience that brings customers to the edge of space for striking views and a few minutes in zero gravity before bringing them back down to earth. SpaceX has a couple of missions in the next 12 months that are scheduled to take private citizens to orbit. One is scheduled to launch in September and will carry Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder of Shift4 Payments, and three other amateur astronauts, on a trip to orbit.
Virgin Galatic Launch
Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson said Elon Musk — his space-race counterpart — visited him at 3 a.m. Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin have emphasized that their respective methods for reaching space are safe. The Virgin Galactic trip with Mr. Branson was the 22nd flight for the VSS Unity. Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight with Mr. Bezos on board was its 16th successful trip.
Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, named VMS Eve , will carry the VSS Unity space plane to an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15.5 kilometers). The space plane will then separate from its carrier plane and fire its engines for about one minute to accelerate into suborbital space, reaching an altitude of at least 50 miles . Branson, 70, served as a mission specialist on the flight, the fourth crewed spaceflight for Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft. Unity was launched from the Eve mothership at an altitude of 50,000 feet and live stream video showed it shooting into space. Within 30 seconds the spacecraft reached Mach 2 speed and a few seconds later hit Mach 3 at an altitude of weightlessness. Billionaire Sir Richard Branson flew to the lower edge of space and back to planet Earth on Sunday in the first fully crewed flight from his private space tourism firm Virgin Galactic.
The space plane then detached from the mother ship at an altitude of about 8 1/2 miles and fired its engine, reaching the edge of space. The entire flight up and back aboard the sleek white ship, named Unity, took just under 15 minutes. On July 20, another billionaire is scheduled to take another rocket to the edge of space. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, founded his rocket company, Blue Origin, with a vision of millions of people living and working in space in the future.
Celebrities and billionaires must get a lot of people making requests of them all the time. After his space trip, I got in touch and he then sent me the picture of him holding our family photo in space.
This photo shows the view from Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane during its first piloted test flight from Spaceport America, which took place on May 22, 2021. This screenshot from a Virgin Galactic video shows the company’s VSS Unity vehicle firing up its rocket motor during its third test flight to suborbital space, on May 22, 2021. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity launches billionaire Richard Branson and a crew of five others to suborbital space and back in a flight from Spaceport America, New Mexico on July 11, 2021. Browse 20,024 richard branson stock photos and images available, or start a new search to explore more stock photos and images. Ever the showman, Branson insisted on a global livestream of the Sunday morning flight and invited celebrities and former space station astronauts to the company’s Spaceport America base in New Mexico. Bezos’ Blue Origin company intends to send tourists past the so-called Karman line 62 miles above Earth, which is is recognized by international aviation and aerospace federations as the threshold of space.
“Great to start the morning with a friend,” Mr. Branson said on Twitter. In this billionaire space race, slipping the surly bonds of Earth apparently isn’t enough — not without some glitz and a bevy of celebrities. Stephen Colbert added a dash of comedy as Branson and crew headed toward space. While the price of a brief suborbital trip with Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin is expensive, trips even higher to orbit and beyond are downright, well, astronomical. When the company resumes sales later this year, the price will probably rise again, said Michael Colglazier, Virgin Galactic’s chief executive.
Branson said in the tweet that it was a big day, he felt good, excited and ready and that it was great to start the morning with a friend. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson holds up a photo of him with his children that he flew to space inside his flight suit pocket aboard the Unity 22 suborbital mission flown from Spaceport America in New Mexico on July 11, 2021. With about 500 people watching, including Branson’s wife, children and grandchildren, a twin-fuselage aircraft with his space plane attached underneath took off in the first stage of the flight. The billionaire is now the first person to reach the edge of space in his own personal spacecraft. On July 20, founder Jeff Bezos was among the passengers on the New Shepard vessel.
What became his Virgin business empire began with a small record shop in central London in the 1970s before Mr. Branson parlayed it into Virgin Records, the home of acts like the Sex Pistols, Peter Gabriel and more. In 1984, he co-founded what became Virgin Atlantic to challenge British Airways in the field of long-haul passenger air travel. Mr. Branson departed for the space plane with his crewmates on Sunday in New Mexico. An earlier version of this article, using information from a Virgin Galactic video, misstated the day that Richard Branson was riding a bicycle to Spaceport America in New Mexico. He was riding it on July 5, not July 11, the day of his flight to space. Around two hours before lifting off, Mr. Branson shared a photo of himself with a shoeless Elon Musk, a billionaire rival in the private conquest of space.
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Virgin Galactic has said that people on board the ship will be able to experience weightlessness for a few minutes, if they would like, once the craft is at its retained earnings peak and take in views. Former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides will fly to space on the aerospace company’s next test spaceflight, as per a report.
The company’s first space plane, the V.S.S. Enterprise, crashed during a test flight in 2014 when the co-pilot moved a lever too early during the flight, allowing the tail booms to rotate when they should have remained rigid. The Enterprise broke apart, and the co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was killed. The pilot, Peter Siebold, survived after parachuting out of the plane. In addition to Mr. Branson, three Virgin Galactic employees joined the flight to evaluate how the experience will be for future paying customers. They were Beth Moses, the chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennett, lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations. Richard Branson and crew was able to experience weightlessness during their trip to space, but the opportunity for others to do that won’t come cheap. To get off the ground, Unity was carried by a larger plane to an altitude of about 50,000 feet.
What Is Virgin Galactics Space Plane, And What Did It Do?
Virgin Orbit, a spinoff of that company that launches small satellites from a jumbo jet, came 13 years later. Virgin Orbit, now separate from Virgin Galactic, has carried payloads to orbit twice this year. The show’s hosts tried to interview Mr. Branson photos of richard branson when the plane reached space, but the audio feed wasn’t working. After re-entry, many of his words were garbled as he tried to describe what it was like to visit space. At the time, he thought commercial service would begin in two to three years.
At some point during the dinner conversation, the topic of space came up. Kath told Richard that she wasn’t well and that she didn’t know how long she had to live, and she asked him when he was going to space, because she wanted to go along. At the end of dinner, we all shook hands and I did see him around the place and say hello in passing, but that was it really.
- Their 12-day trip, scheduled to launch in December, is a prelude for a more ambitious around-the-moon trip Mr. Maezawa hopes to embark on in a few years in the giant SpaceX Starship rocket that is currently in development.
- “We’re here to make space more accessible to all,” Mr. Branson said on Sunday as he was presented with his astronaut wings after his milestone flight.
- Virgin Records was in a much better position than it had been a year before, so I quickly agreed to a purchase price of $180,000.
- The Enterprise broke apart, and the co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was killed.
- “I think like most kids I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid and honestly nothing can prepare you for the view of Earth from space.”
Instead, the pressure of the trapped air ruptured a seal along one of the stabilizers. What the F.A.A. does regulate is ensuring safety for people not on the plane — that is, if anything does go wrong, that the risk to the “uninvolved public” on ground is minuscule. Founding a space exploration company was perhaps an unsurprising step for Mr. Branson, who has made a career — and a fortune estimated at $6 billion — building flashy upstart businesses that he promotes with a showman’s flair. The flight also came just hours before England was set to take on Italy in the soccer finals of Euro 2020, which has drawn the collective attention of many people in Britain. Some on social media suggested that Mr. Branson’s timing was less than ideal.
The acceleration made people on board feel a force up to 3.5 times their normal weight on the way to an altitude of more than 50 miles. Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut whose performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the space station went viral some years ago, then pinned wings on the crewmates’ flight suits that officially designate them as astronauts. It has been a very long wait for Mr. Branson, the irreverent, 70-year-old British billionaire who leads a galaxy of Virgin companies. In 2004, he founded Virgin Galactic to provide adventurous tourists with rides on rocket-powered planes to the edge of space and back. Then, in May this year, I remember wondering when Richard was going into space. I’d actually reached out to him after our holiday about a charity we were involved with, so I still had his email address, and I emailed him to ask. He replied that his space trip would be happening in July, so I reminded him that Kath had cheekily asked him to take her into space and explained that sadly she wasn’t around anymore.
This image provided by Virgin Galactic shows the crew of Sunday’s Unity 22 mission, from left, Dave Mackay, Colin Bennett, Beth Moses, Richard Branson, Sirisha Bandla and Michael Masucci. The billionaire rode his bike Sunday morning to the launch area, Spaceport America in New Mexico. “It’s just magical. I’m just taking it all in. It’s just unreal,” said Branson, who popped a bottle of champagne after he and his crew were presented their Virgin Galactic astronaut wings. The US Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration put the boundary of space lower, at an altitude of about 50 miles.
During Virgin Galactic’s livestream on Sunday, some space tourists-in-waiting spoke about how they were looking forward to taking the flights. They had been invited to watch Mr. Branson’s flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico. There was no discussion of the steep cost associated with space travel, which is not limited to Virgin Galactic. Nevertheless, the company estimated on Sunday that more than 600 people from some 60 countries had signed up for one of its flights. The first paying SpaceShipTwo passengers may begin flying in the next year, after the company completes two more test flights. “We’re here to make space more accessible to all,” Mr. Branson said on Sunday as he was presented with his astronaut wings after his milestone flight. Not long after Richard Branson re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Sunday, he and other employees of his Virgin Galactic venture boasted that the company would greatly expand opportunities for the general public to travel to space.
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Richard Branson, through his company Virgin Galactic, is now the first billionaire to travel to space aboard a spacecraft he helped finance. The day Richard Branson was about to embark on his first space trip, he posted a picture of him on Twitter with none other than Tesla CEO Elon Musk, another space enthusiast, who’s planning human colonisation on Mars. In the picture, the two billionaires are standing casually in the kitchen, both dressed in tee shirts and trousers.
You’d never expect from a chance conversation that you’d end up with your photo in space. I shared the photo on Facebook for my kids and then I thought I would put it on LinkedIn, just to inspire people to take opportunities and ask for what they want. In the end, I had to turn off my notifications, the post has had hundreds of thousands of likes, and I’ve had thousands of people connect with me on the platform.
The US Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday said it was grounding space flights by Virgin Galactic while it investigates why the company’s July 11 voyage carrying Richard Branson deviated from its planned trajectory. Sync your calendar with the solar system Never miss an eclipse, a meteor shower, a rocket launch or any other astronomical and space event that’s out of this world. The Italian Air Force has purchased seats on future flights for scientific research, as has the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing. Virgin Galactic already has more than 600 reservations from would-be space tourists, with tickets initially costing $250,000 apiece. Blue Origin is waiting for Bezos’ flight before announcing its ticket prices. R&B singer Khalid was on hand to perform his new single “New Normal” — a nod to the dawning of space tourism — while CBS “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert served as the event’s master of ceremonies. Virgin Galactic conducted three previous test flights into space with crews of just two or three.
“Seventeen years of hard work to get us this far,” a jubilant Branson said as he congratulated his team on the trip back. “I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” Branson said in a statement earlier this month announcing his spaceflight. “After 17 years of research, engineering and innovation, the new commercial space industry is poised to open the universe to humankind and change the world for good.” He said he was honored to “test the customer experience” and declared, “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.” Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft, on the other hand,launches from its homeport in New Mexico— dubbed Spaceport America — with the help of a carrier craft, before igniting its rocket and accelerating to three times the speed of sound. Branson and Musk are rivals in the so-called billionaire space race, even though their companies have somewhat different goals. Speaking at a press conference after the successful flight, Branson gave a little more context to the snap.
Mackay is a former military test pilot and flew Boeing 747 airplanes for Virgin Atlantic before joining Virgin Galactic in 2009. The Virgin Galactic crew will fly to space in the SpaceShipTwo vehicle named VSS Unity, which will first ascend into the stratosphere tucked beneath the wings of a carrier plane called WhiteKnightTwo.
Two years after we had first met, I wanted to show Joan a grand gesture of affection. Upon hearing about a beautiful island in the British Virgin Islands up for sale, I called the people selling it to enquire. We were still in the early days of Virgin Records and I definitely did not have the cash to buy it – but try telling that to a fool in love!
Author: David Ringstrom