Earlier this week came the "I have a lot of money" flex from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that, fulfilled with his time on Earth, he was planning a trip to space. Not to be outdone by another billionaire with extra-terrestrial ambitions, Virgin Group head Richard Branson will apparently move up his already scheduled trip to the stars so that he can beat Bezos and become the "first billionaire in space." According to a report from Parabolic Arc, Branson and Virgin Galactic are moving to get Branson a seat on their VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane for a July 4th weekend trip to space.
“We are in the process of analyzing the data from our successful May 22nd flight," ” a Virgin Galactic spokesman said in a statement to the outlet. "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."
One potential snag in this peeing contest however is that, as Parabolic Arc says, "Before it can fly Branson, Virgin Galactic must obtain a commercial reusable spacecraft operator’s license from the FAA." Getting such a permanent may not be possible in the time frame between now and the weekend of July 4th which is just three weeks away.
Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space - how extraordinary! Watch this space…— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 7, 2021
Bezos, who is facing a ticking clock for his time with retail giant Amazin, has announced that his trip into space will through his aerospace company Blue Origin with their first manned shuttle heading into the outer reaches of the atmosphere on 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." That best friend is his brother Mark.
"If you see the earth from space, it changes you," Bezos said in his Instagram post where he announced his space travel. "It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one earth. I want to go on this flight because it's a thing I've wanted to do all my life, it's an adventure, it's a big deal for me. I invited my brother to come on this first flight because we're the closest friends."