SPACEPORT AMERICA (dpa-AFX) – The British billionaire Richard Branson wants to help his space company Virgin Galactic will fly into space on July 11th. The company announced the date for the planned “Unity 22” mission on Thursday. “I’ve always been a dreamer,” wrote Branson on Twitter. His mother taught him never to give up and reach for the stars. Now is the time to make that dream come true.
If July 11 is the starting date, Branson Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would have nine days ahead. Blue Origin, Bezos’ space company, announced a manned flight with the New Shepard rocket for July 20 in May. The richest person in the world wants to take his brother and an 82-year-old former US pilot on their maiden flight into space. Another seat was auctioned a few weeks ago for 28 million US dollars to a previously unknown person.
In May, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane completed a manned space test flight with two pilots. The capsule was launched on board a carrier aircraft from the commercial spaceport Spaceport America in the US state of New Mexico. The mother ship dropped off the “VSS Unity” at an altitude of almost 14 kilometers. Then the space capsule accelerated with its own rocket drive and continued the flight briefly. She reached an altitude of 89.2 kilometers, as Virgin Galactic announced.
The International Aviation Association (FAI) and many other experts see 100 kilometers above the earth as the limit to space. However, there is no binding international regulation. This is how soldiers of the US Air Force received the designation astronaut, even though they had only flown to an altitude of 50 miles (80.5 kilometers). For comparison: the International Space Station ISS flies 400 kilometers above the earth’s surface.
In addition to two pilots, two astronauts, an astronaut and Branson, are now to fly in the space capsule on July 11th. The extremely rich adventurer wants to offer commercial space flights with his company Virgin Galactic. The 18-meter-long “VSS Unity” spaceplane offers space for two pilots and six passengers, and from 2022 it is expected to take tourists into space.
After the July 11 flight, he wanted to make a “very exciting” announcement, Branson said on Thursday. More people should have the chance to become astronauts.
Bezos, who also wants to expand space tourism, founded Blue Origin around 20 years ago. In mid-April, the company tested its “New Shepard” rocket with an astronaut capsule for the last time. In doing so, it reached an altitude of around 105 kilometers before returning to Earth. The actual test flight, however, remained unmanned – the “New Shepard” has never flown with people on board.
In the race for tourist flights into space, the Tesla boss’ SpaceX is also involved Elon Musk With. The company plans to launch its first flight with space tourists by the end of the year. So far, astronauts have already flown to the International Space Station ISS./mub/DP/zb with SpaceX