Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson becomes first billionaire to fly into space – All You Need to Know

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson – 1st Billionaire to Fly into Space: On 11th July 2021 – British Bllionaire Richard Branson took off from a base in New Mexico aboard ‘VSS Unity’ - a space plane specially developed by Virgin Galactic. Branson flew nearly to the edge of space i.e. about 290,000 feet or 55 miles (89 kilometers) above the Earth. Get Details Here

Created On: Jul 11, 2021 23:50 ISTModified On: Jul 12, 2021 09:21 IST
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson – 1st Billionaire to Fly into Space

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson – 1st Billionaire to Fly into Space: On 11th July 2021 – Sunday, British Billionaire, Philanthropist, Business Tycoon Richard Branson became the first billionaire to fly into space after Historic Space Flight on board a Virgin Galactic spacecraft called 'VSS Unity' from New Mexico in the US. Branson narrowly beat his fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos by mere 9 days, who is also slated to travel to space on 20th July 2021. As per the flight plan, VSS Unity space plane was hauled aloft by a carrier aircraft upto a height of 45000 feet or 13,700 meters where it detached from it. Thereafter, the space plane’s rocket engine came to life helping the team ascend to about 290,000 feet or a peak altitude of around 53 miles (85 kilometers), beyond the boundary of space. The 1.5 hour flight allowed the passengers to experience a few minutes of weightlessness, while admiring the curvature of Earth from the ship's 17 windows.

Branson Calls it Experience of Life Time

The 6-member crew aboard the VSS unity, spent around an hour in space before returning back to earth. UK entrepreneur termed his trip to space as an “experience of lifetime.” Speaking to media persons after his historic space flight, Branson said "I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid, but honestly nothing can prepare you for the view of Earth from space." He futher added that "The whole thing was just magical." After returning back to earth, Branson also said that we want to turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today and tomorrow.”

The Indian Connection

The Business Tycoon was accompanied in space by the vehicle's two pilots, Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, and three Galactic employees - Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirisha Bandla. Along with Branson, Aeronautical engineer Sirisha Bandla also created history on Sunday. Bandla became the third Indian-origin woman to fly into space on Sunday Virgin Galactic's first fully crewed suborbital test flight from New Mexico. She currently holds the position of Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galatic.

Race towards Space Tourism

Moving away from the Classical Space Race, which was sparked during the Cold War era between the US and the USSR; the modern space race has been launched between the billionaires of the 21st Century to gain the first mover advantage in the niche Space Tourism market. With his flight on 11th July 2021, Richard Branson became the 1st Billionaire to fly into the space, beating fellow billionaire and e-commerce giant Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the new space race by nine days aboard a a rocket made by Blue Origin, his space venture. Both companies i.e. Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Bezos’s Blue One, envision businesses catering to wealthy tourists willing to pay top dollar for a short period of weightlessness and an unforgettable view of the Earth and heavens. On similar lines, Tesla Founder Elon Musk, who also owns and operates SpaceX also plans to launch commercial operations as part of his space venture soon, as per media reports.

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