As billionaire Richard Branson prepares to launch into the stratosphere on Sunday, Virgin Galactic pulls out all the stops to make its founder’s first flight a spectacle worth setting in.
Late showis Stephen Colbert hosting livestream events and singer-songwriter Khalid announced will debut a new single live on stage after the spacecraft lands. Branson is too teased plans to “announce something very exciting to give more people the opportunity to become astronauts” after returning to Earth.
Branson will join three crew members and two pilots on a Virgin Galactic rocket plane, VSS Unity, for their first full flight test to the edge of space on Sunday. If all goes smoothly, the flight is expected to take about 90 minutes based on previous tests, both launching and landing on Spaceport America in New Mexico.
This mission marks the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the fourth crew of Virgin Galactic outside the Earth’s atmosphere, according to company announcement. But more importantly, it will give Branson the right to brag about beating his rival Jeff Bezos into space. The founder of billionaire Amazon should do it go on a journey aboard the New Shepard rocket Blue Origin on July 20th.
It is worth noting that Bezos first announced these plans in June. Branson was originally scheduled to travel into space in later flight, but last week he did declared the launch window was moved to July 11, just nine days before Bezos. Of course, the two space flights are completely unrelated, Branson told Washington Post, calling it just “a wonderful coincidence that we’re going up in the same month.”
Part of me is hoping that Branson, who arrived in space this weekend, will finally rest this thinly veiled dick measurement competition. But then I remember that this launch is just the first of many milestones in the so-called a billionaire space race bring out the claims in the space tourism industry. Yippee …