Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (AP)– After a lifetime of yearning to fly in space, Virgin Galactics Richard Branson was poised to launch aboard his own spaceship Sunday in his boldest, grandest experience yet.The thrill-seeking billionaire joined five company employees likewise appointed to the test flight to the edge of area high above the southern desert of New Mexico.Ever the showman, Branson considerably counted down the days to liftoff by means of Twitter. He viewed the quick up-and-down trip as a confidence contractor– not only for the 600-plus individuals already waiting and holding appointments in the wings, however potential area travelers going to pay a couple of hundred-thousand dollars for a shot at space.The London-born founder of the Virgin Group, who turns 71 in a week, wasnt expected to fly until later this summer. He appointed himself to an earlier flight after Blue Origins Jeff Bezos revealed strategies to ride his own rocket into space from West Texas on July 20. Virgin Galactic does not anticipate to begin flying customers prior to next year. Blue Origin has yet to open ticket sales or even announce prices, however late recently boasted through Twitter that it would take customers greater and provide bigger windows.Unlike Blue Origin and Elon Musks SpaceX, which release capsules atop recyclable booster rockets, Virgin Galactic uses a twin-fuselage aircraft to get its space rocket up. The area airplane is launched from the mothership about 44,000 feet (13,400 meters) up, then fires its rocket motor to streak straight to space. Optimum elevation is roughly 55 miles (70 kilometers), with three to 4 minutes of weightlessness provided.The rocket airplane– which needs two pilots– glides to a runway landing at its Spaceport America base.Virgin Galactic reached space for the very first time in 2018, duplicating the feat in 2019 and once again this previous May, each time with a minimal crew. It got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration last month to begin launching customers. ___ Dunn reported from Cape Canaveral, Fla


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