Recently the private space race has really heated up. After constantly seeing updates about SpaceX and nothing seeming to happen from either Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic that idea quickly reversed. Last we had heard about either of the last two companies Virgin Galactic had aborted its suborbital human test flight because the rocket failed to ignite. In space though things can change rapidly and boy did they.
You could argue they won the race as they were the first ones to put humans back in space aboard their rocket. However given what the subject of non astronauts getting to space SpaceX has not yet done that. While they could in theory just launch them in Crew Dragon they have instead banked on Starship for this. Starship which I have written extensively about is still in its early stages and the most recent test flight had it go 7.8 miles up before coming back down. As a side note it did not stick the landing and exploded on impact.
Blue Origin has really exploded on the scene with their most recent test flight being the first of 2 before they believe they will be ready to launch humans in to suborbital space. If they can pull it off it would be incredible as they are aiming to have it ready for people by April of this year. While human spaceflight for the United States is based out of Florida, Blue Origin will be launching from West Texas out of a launch complex Jeff Bezos has built himself.
Richard Branson's company was long thought to be the first company to get to space for people. He even took this company public via a SPAC reverse merger. They rapidly fell behind though and at one point seemed to be doing nothing. They talked the state of New Mexico into building them a huge launch complex called Spaceport America. It was only in 2019 that Virgin Galactic fully moved into Spaceport America even though they were supposed to have moved in years earlier. They have completed two different glide tests of the spaceplane both of which were done in the first half of 2020.
No full launch of the plane has occurred and it is rather hard to see one occurring. Information is scarce to come by as it is not announcing things like SpaceX nor Blue Origin do. I would assume they would try again as they have done some more flying over the spaceport but there is not a firm date in place like SpaceX has.
Overall this year could be a year where two different private companies begin flying people to the edge of space. We could even have up to 5 if Boeing is also able to certify with NASA too. This would be fantastic and hopefully would lead to a huge wave of innovation for Low Earth Orbit and space in general. Elon Musk has been the face of putting people on Mars however we need more than just SpaceX to lead humanity towards something like this being possible.