Richard Branson aims to fly to space before Jeff Bezos, Virgin Galactic confirms

Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Space tourism firm Virgin Galactic will fly its founder Richard Branson on its next test flight slated for July 11th, the company confirmed Thursday. Branson’s new flight date will come before rival Jeff Bezos is expected to fly in his own space tourism rocket on July 20th, setting the stage for a largely symbolic showdown between two billionaires racing to validate their space tourism rockets.

Branson, 70, wasn’t set to fly on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane for another two tests — until Thursday, when the company announced he’d fly on July 11th “testing the private astronaut experience” alongside four mission specialists and two pilots. “I’ve always been a dreamer,” Branson tweeted after the announcement. “My mum taught me to…

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