Virgin Galactic To Launch Richard Branson On July 11, In A Bid To Beat Bezos To Space

Virgin Galactic have announced plans to launch its next test spaceflight on July 11, with founder Sir Richard Branson on board.

July 11 will mark Virgin Galactic’s fourth test spaceflight and its first flight with a crew of four on board. Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson is aiming to beat fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos to space, with Bezos currently scheduled to make the trip on July 20. Virgin Galactic’s most recent spaceflight, on May 22, launched with just two pilots on board.

Alongside Branson, there will be three Virgin Galactic mission specialists: Chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, lead operations engineer Colin Bennett, and government affairs VP Sirisha Bandla. Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft will be flown by pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci. Virgin Galactic has said the spaceflight will be livestreamed for the first time. The livestream will be available via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. 

On June 25, Virgin Galactic announced that the Federal Aviation Administration had granted the company a license to fly passengers on future space flights. By 2022, Virgin Galactic aims to begin launching paying passengers by early 2022. Branson founded the company in 2004 with the goal of building a space tourism business.

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