Richard Branson Launches Into Space, Watch Flight Live
Last month, it was revealed that some of the world's billionaires were in competition to beat each other to space. Virgin Group head Richard Branson moved up his already-planned trip to space after it was announced that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was planning his own excursion to the stars. Branson wanted to beat Bezos to become the "first billionaire in space," and it looks like he's getting his wish. The Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Spaceflight Livestream is expected to kick off at 10:30 AM ET.
"Join us July 11th for our first fully crewed rocket-powered test flight, and the beginning of a new space age," the Virgin Galactic's video description reads. "Aboard #Unity22 will be our team of two pilots and four mission specialists, including Sir Richard Branson. They will put our Future Astronaut spaceflight experience to a final test, while giving the world a preview of the life-changing experience." You can check out the livestream, which is being hosted by Stephen Colbert, below:
"We are in the process of analyzing the data from our successful May 22nd flight," a Virgin Galactic spokesman said in a statement to Parabolic Arc. "As previously announced, we expect to complete the final test flights this summer through to early fall. At this time, we have not determined the date of our next flight. An objective from the last flight was to collect data to be used for the final two verification reports that are required as part of the current FAA commercial reusable spacecraft operator's license."
Virgin Galactic President Mike Moses recently spoke to CNN Business about the contingencies planned for the Virgin Galactic mission. "We have enough onboard air to feed a leak, four times over," he said. "Then, our air-launch system lets us actually check for those leaks before we release it in the first place. So if we take off, and we see that we've developed a leak, we just don't release [SpaceShipTwo] from the mothership. We come back home."
As for Bezos, the Amazon CEO announced that his trip into space will happen through his aerospace company, Blue Origin, with their first manned shuttle scheduled for July 20th. "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space," Bezos wrote on Instagram. "On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend."
Will you be watching Branson's launch into space? Tell us in the comments!
Image by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images