Space race for Bezos, Branson, Musk is a mere vanity project

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Los Angeles Times 06 July, 2021 - 03:10pm 56 views

When is Richard Branson going to space?

Billionaire Richard Branson will be flying to the edge of space on July 11 on board the 'Unity' rocket ship his company, Virgin Galactic, has been developing for around 20 years. Moneycontrol.comRichard Branson, Virgin Galactic prepare for July 11 spaceflight: What we know about the mission

Who is sirisha bandla?

Sirisha Bandla who is part of six space travellers aboard 'VSS Unity' of Virgin Galactic will become the second India-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla. According to a report by the news agency, ANI Sirisha Bandla was born in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district was brought up in Houston. LivemintSirisha Bandla: India-born woman who is part of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic flight

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Marie Harf, Steven L. Miller and Jason Meister join 'Kennedy' to discuss the space battle of the billionaires

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson gave an inside look at the aerospace company's prized VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo on Tuesday.

Branson told NBC's "Today" show he had always "envisioned" a spaceship like the sleek VSS Unity's design as a kid. 

"I just thought that's how you should fly to space," he said. 

While the VSS Unity appeared to be resting at the company's spaceport in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the shiny white spacecraft is gearing up for another rocket-powered test flight. 

This time, the launch will include six "Unity 22" crew members, including the 70-year-old Branson himself.

The VSS Unity and its mothership VMS Eve – named after Branson's mother – climb together to an altitude just below 50,000 feet before the spaceship is released and its rocket ignites, sending the craft up "a little over Mach 3" to approximately 300,000 feet above Earth.

"The planet peers back at you through the ship’s 17 windows as you see home for the first time," the spaceflight company said on its website. "16 cameras throughout the cabin record every moment of the experience in HD."

Upon reentry, the VSS Unity's wings raise 60 degrees before lowering again after the ship descends into the atmosphere and the pilot lands on the runway – as exhibited in a successful test at the end of May following delays.

Virgin Galactic announced last week that the ship would fly on July 11 – nine days ahead of space tourism rival and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos – pending weather and technical checks.

However, Branson said he was not in competition with the fellow billionaire. 

"I know nobody will believe me when I say it, but honestly, there isn't," he said.

This will be the 20-second test flight for VSS Unity and the company's fourth crewed spaceflight, according to Space.com.

Branson will be joined on board the VSS Unity by Virgin Galactic chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, lead operations engineer Colin Bennett, government affairs vice president Sirisha Bandla and pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci.

Pilots C.J. Sturckow and Kelly Latimer will fly VMS Eve.

The company teased the flight on its Twitter account – in both a video and its bio. 

"A new space age is coming. Watch Virgin Galactic spaceflight Unity 22 LIVE on July 11 at 6 am PT/9 am ET," the company wrote. 

Virgin Galactic was recently approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to commence commercial passenger flights in 2022. 

Seven hundred people have signed up for a seat, paying a whopping $250,000 for the opportunity to enter suborbital space.

"It's going to be a ride," Branson said.

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Read full article at Los Angeles Times

Why Virgin Galactic Stock Rocketed Almost 50% in June

The Motley Fool 06 July, 2021 - 07:29pm

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Interest in the space tourism industry soared in June. Investors took notice early in the month when Jeff Bezos, founder of the privately held Blue Origin space company, announced he would join his company's first passenger mission into space in late July. That helped boost shares of fellow space tourism company Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE:SPCE). But it was additional news directly from Virgin Galactic that helped drive more-significant gains later in the month. Shares ended the month up 47.3%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence

Virgin Galactic has been operating its test flights under license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But that license did not include passenger flights until now. On June 25, the FAA gave approval for a full commercial license to operate its spacecraft with passengers. That followed a successful May test flight, after which the company's full analysis confirmed all the flight objectives were achieved. 

View from Virgin Galactic test flight. Image source: Virgin Galactic.

The analysis validated the performance of several flight controls, cabin environment data, and successful pilot runs of three research experiments that will help generate revenue in the future. After FAA approval for passenger flights was announced, Virgin Galactic stock shot up 39%, representing the majority of its June gains. 

Investor activity also rose with that important news. The 30-day average daily trading volume jumped by 50% in the last week of June, according to data by YCharts. As a speculative growth investment, the ability to commercialize is a significant step for investors. 

The company still plans another three test flights, and a detail about the next one stirred further excitement for the company subsequent to the end of the month. In announcing plans for its first fully crewed test flight, planned for July 11, the company said its founder, Sir Richard Branson, will be among the crew. 

Branson's presence will be for "testing the private astronaut experience" to prepare more for future paying passengers, the company said. But it also marked the final stretch of a billionaire race to space between Branson and Bezos. If the flight occurs as planned on July 11, Branson will beat Bezos' flight by nine days. 

While that race isn't directly meaningful for the commercialization of the business, the competition between billionaire founders to join their respective flights to space is garnering plenty of publicity. Investors should keep their excitement in check, however, and be sure to focus on the business and valuation once flights -- and revenue generation -- begin to occur regularly. 

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