Richard Branson, a British millionaire, is the founder of the Virgin Group, a US-based multinational company. He loves to take on new challenges all the time. Jeff Bezos of Amazon is competing with his company in the space tourism business.
Branson has announced that he will go into space before overtaking Bezos. His spacecraft will fly into space experimentally on July 11.
He will also be a passenger in it. According to a report in The Guardian, Branson will go into space nine days before the Bezos spaceflight. Branson will be accompanied by five other officials of the organization. This will be the fourth spaceflight in the Virgin Galactic. If the company’s test flight was successful last May, the US Federal Aviation Administration would allow them to hire tourists. However, this is the first time Branson’s space mission from New Mexico has taken all the crew.
The announcement came just hours after the Bezos company announced the launch of Blue Origin. Blue Origin says it will depart from West Texas on July 20, the 52nd lunar victory anniversary of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Jeff Bezos is accompanied on the Blue Origin rocket by his brother Mark Bezos, female astronaut Wally Funk and an unnamed astronaut.
In the context of space travel, Branson writes, he feels honored to be able to help ensure other customer experiences from his business venture. “I really believe that space belongs to all of us,” he said.
“I’ve always dreamed,” Branson wrote on Twitter. My mother never told me to touch the stars. July 11 is the day to make that dream a reality. ‘
Branson says his body is fine for space travel. He is going to set foot at the age of 61.
Virgin Galactic launches their rocket from a single aircraft, which can reach an altitude of 8 km. Blue Origin had earlier launched their New Shepherd rocket from the ground. Their capsule reaches an altitude of 108 km. In the case of two vehicles, this height is considered as the edge of the sky.
According to Virgin Galactic, the goal of their experimental flight this time is to assess seating comfort, weightlessness experience and view of the Earth from the space cabin.
And much as Amazon isn’t choosy about what you can buy—in fact, it wants you to be able to buy anything and everything—Blue Origin is rather agnostic about what people end up doing in space. The company’s goal is to get them there. “Personally, I would love to go to space,” Bezos says. “But it’s not the thing that’s most important to me. I believe that we are sitting on the edge of a golden age of space exploration. Right on the edge. The thing that I would be most proud of, when I’m 80 years old, is if Blue Origin can lower the cost of access to space by such a large amount that there can be a dynamic, entrepreneurial explosion in space—just as we’ve seen over the last 20 years on the internet.
Now 52 years old, Bezos has reportedly put $500 million of his own money into Blue Origin to change that. His first operational rocket, New Shepard, which Bezos named for America’s first astronaut, Alan Shepard, was designed fresh, down to the steerable tail fins at its base. It flies into space nose-first and back to Earth tail-first, with a ring near the top of the rocket’s first stage that acts as a circular fin to stabilize the rocket as it descends at the speed of sound. The crew capsule has the largest windows ever on a spacecraft—single, multilayered acrylic panes that are 3.5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, no minor detail when Bezos’ vision for commercializing Blue Origin, especially in the early going, is ferrying tourists to suborbital space. The engine—also developed from scratch—provides 110,000 pounds of thrust on launch, turns off, and can be restarted in the last 30 seconds of flight and throttled down to 20,000 pounds of thrust, enabling the spacecraft to settle gently on its landing gear.
And Bezos’ rocket works: In less than a year, between November 2015 and early October, Blue Origin launched the same New Shepard rocket to the edge of space five times and landed it safely. No other rocket has ever been used even twice.