Billionaire Richard Branson, last week, claimed that within the next six months he will go on a trip to space with his company Virgin Galactic.
Speaking at the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki, Finland, the founder of Virgin Galactic, Branson said: ‘We are hopefully about three months before we are in space, maybe six months before I’m in space.’
Virgin Galactic, which was founded in 2004, has seen thirteen years of developments and setbacks that includes a catastrophic crash in 2014 which killed one pilot and injured another.
When asked a question by audience about who would reach Mars first, him or Elon Musk, Branson said he was not as keen on the red planet as the SpaceX founder.
“I’m not as passionate about Mars as Elon is. My love for space is about how much it can do for people back here on earth, and that’s what Virgin Galactic is pushing towards.”
Tesla founder, Musk, recently announced his plans to land his first rockets on Mars by 2022 with SpaceX.
“[Getting to Mars] is an incredible challenge, and I suspect Elon [Musk] will get there first. He’s more interested in big rockets going big distances. We’ve been more interested in taking people to space, and satellites, slightly closer to Earth,” Branson said.
Virgin Galactic, which is selling tickets for the suborbital trip at a cost of US$ 250,000, has close to 700 potential customers so far. Celebrities like Brad Pitt, Katy Perry and Ashton Kutcher – have all reserved their spot for a space trip on Virgin Galactic. However, Branson pointed out that this will not just be a sightseeing operation. He wants to use his technology for point to point travel.
“To get to space we’re going to be flying a craft that’s going 3000 miles per hour. We are going to be the only people in the world, in a few months, to be flying a craft that’s going 3000 [mph]. Taking that craft and looking at point to point travel is something we are going to be in the best position in the world to do.”