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article imageBranson says he'll be in space by July

By Tim Sandle     Feb 8, 2019 in Technology
Virgin boss Richard Branson says he will be travelling in 'space' by July as his Virgin Galactic spaceship prepares for another flight following a test run in December 2018. Branson would like to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Richard Branson is a British billionaire, who began his business career by starting a record label (and had early success in signing Genesis). From launching a successful airline franchise, Branson has spent the considerable time, energy and money on his space tourism project - the company Virgin Galactic.
Branson founded Virgin Galactic, which is based at Mojave Air and Space Port, in 2004. The company's biggest success to date has been with its craft SpaceShipTwo (or 'Unity'), a suborbital spaceplane designed for space tourism. On December 13, 2018 the Virgin space ship Unity flew higher than 80 kilometers above the Earth (82.7 kilometers, for sixty seconds). The historic flight was reported by Digital Journal (see: "Virgin Galactic ship moves to the edge of space").
According to The Daily Mail, Branson says that he plans to travel to space within four or five months, ideally coinciding with the anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission landing. Branson also suggests his company remain on target to send tourists into on short 'suborbital' flights by the end of next year (2020). The ticket price for these first pre-booked flights was set at $250,000.
The Virgin boss made his remarks at a Virgin Galactic event at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. , where the company donated its RocketMotorTwo engine to the museum.
The flights planned are 'suborbital' flights, at around the 80 kilometer height. This is not quite 'space', for which the international consensus is 100 kilometers above the Earth. This is the Kármán line, the point conventionally used, and accepted by the Fédération aéronautique internationale, as the start of outer space in space treaties and for aerospace records keeping.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's next test flight is planned for February 20, depending on weather conditions, as Phys.org has reported.
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