Its been a minute since I have done one of these due to work but so much has been announced that I could not pass up the opportunity! For a while, now news in regards to space travel has really been dominated by Elon Musk and SpaceX. They, SpaceX, became so good and lunches and recoveries that it became rather boring to write about but their dominance of the space news is rapidly declining.
A few weeks ago Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, announced how he was going to blast of space at the end of July. While Elon Musk's SpaceX is now shipping NASA astronauts to the International Space Station he himself has not gone to space. There is one other Billionaire who has poured a ton of assets into getting himself into space first, Sir Richard Branson.
The founder of Virgin Galatic was also an early entrant into the commercial space race however his goal was to make it affordable. A few years ago Virgin began selling tickets at the cost of $250,000 a seat and while that is expensive compared to what going to space would typically cost it was dirt cheap. Virgin had made really good progress until the pandemic stonewalled them. Once Bezos made his announcement,ent though people who followed this race like myself looked towards Branson to see what he would do.
Virgin Galactic had done plenty of tests but still did not have final approval and last week they secured it. This allowed Branson to be on the next flight which is going to launch July 11th 9 days before Bezos's flight on July 20th. He is in line to put himself in a position to be the first made who literally created a way to get himself into space an incredible feat. Virgin Galatic has never really been after government contracts like Blue Origin or SpaceX has been. The funny detail is Branson's birthday is right around the corner and he often does crazy stunts for it either setting some record or doing another thing. Well, this year he is going to send himself into space which is a pretty crazy birthday gift to yourself!
It will be interesting to see how fast Virgin will be able to launch their customers and how quick a turnaround will take. Right now they have only been launching a few times a year so speeding this up will be huge for the success of the business. Virgin also seems to be satisfied with staying within the niche they have carved out while SpaceX and Blue Origin continue to push further and further into the cosmos!