Richard Branson made the bold statement last week that Virgin Galactic will send astronauts into space by Christmas. The billionaire said he was "reasonably confident" that the space tourism venture he co-founded could reach this milestone by the end of the year in an November 30 interview with CNN Business.
"We have a brilliant group of astronauts who literally 100% believe in the project and give it their all," he said. However, several people agreed to earn $ 200,000 to $ 250,000 for a seat on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.
"I'm allowed to [test pilots] not break it a couple of times, first," Branson told the business news network. "I would have loved to go on this flight, but 19459026 are incredibly brave people."
Of course, this is not the first time that Branson has predicted such performance, only to fall short later.
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He first said the company's maiden flight would start by 2009, a date that has been postponed several times technical challenges.
Virgin Galactic enters into space in a private race against others such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos & # 39; Blue Origins. Some analysts believe that the space economy could ultimately be worth one trillion dollars.
NASA, which said that several private companies will be crucial for future space exploration, recently warned SpaceX founder Musk that his public drinking and use of "pot" would not have inspired confidence. "
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" Everything is important if you bring people into space, "Branson said," so none of us will race for the first race. "
But he added, "Virgin Galactic will be the first."
"Elon has done extraordinary things. We hope to do extraordinary things. Jeff, I & # 39; I'm sure I'll be doing extraordinary things, "Branson said," The demand for space, whether it's satellites taking people into space, is enormous … well, exciting times. "