Elon Musk purchases ticket for Virgin Galactic flight to space
Did you think that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson are at odds with each other just because they run rival space exploration companies? Well, to prove you wrong and enjoy some time in zero-g, Musk has bought a Virgin Galactic ticket. Branson also told The Sunday Times that he might fly on a SpaceX vessel "one day". Here's more.
It appears that Virgin Galactic's successful trip to the edge of space had the intended effect on bookings for the company's commercial spaceflights. According to The Wall Street Journal, a Virgin Galactic spokesperson confirmed that Musk has bought a ticket for a ride to space, although his spot on the waiting list wasn't revealed. The company is reportedly selling tickets for $250,000 each.
So far, Virgin Galactic has racked up $80 million in sales and deposits for tickets to space. Although Musk's spaceflight with Virgin Galactic is likely to be the center of attention when it happens, it isn't a surprise. Firstly, Musk tweeted that he'd go out to Spaceport America to see Branson and wish him the best. Secondly, SpaceX and Branson's company aren't direct competitors.
Will see you there to wish you the best— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2021
Engadget rightly observed that Branson's company caters to those who would be satisfied with suborbital spaceflight while SpaceX's idea of space tourism is lunar flybys. Moreover, Virgin Galactic's subsidiary responsible for satellite launches, Virgin Orbit, serves outfits that can't justify expensive conventional rockets. On the contrary, SpaceX's now-perfected reusable rockets launch costlier payloads. So, the two billionaire's businesses don't overlap entirely.
True to his word, Musk did meet Branson at Spaceport America prior to the Unity 22 launch. Branson tweeted a picture with Musk and called him "a friend". Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos-led Blue Origin did wish Branson a safe flight but also proceeded to dispute Virgin Galactic's claims. Blue Origin's tweets claimed that Branson and team would just touch the edge of space.
Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready.— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
Watch #Unity22 launch and livestream TODAY at 7:30 am PT | 10:30 am ET | 3:30 pm BST.@virgingalactic @elonmusk https://t.co/1313b4RAKI pic.twitter.com/FRQqrQEbH8