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Virgin Galactic to reach space in 'weeks not months'

2018-10-09 16:34 by
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The Virgin founder, Richard Branson, said his company is "more than tantalisingly close" to its first galaxy flight.

"We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years," Branson told news website CNBC.

The British billionaire entrepreneur has been investing in the space industry since 2004 and intends to popularize and bring down the price of space tourism in the coming decades. He was planning to go into space himself by April this year, but his space trip was postponed.

Originally Branson promised suborbital flights – those that reach space without orbiting the planet – by 2009. But the firm's plans have been delayed by numerous setbacks and the loss of the company's previous space plane in a 2014 accident that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

Virgin Galactic is not the only firm that hopes to make a business out of space tourism. In April, Bob Smith, the head of Jeff Bezos's Blue Origins space company, told CNBC the firm still hoped to send tourists to the edge of space by the end of the year. Meanwhile Elon Musk of SpaceX has announced plans to send a passenger around the moon in 2023.

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