Richard Branson Is Just 'Weeks' Away From Sending Virgin Galactic Into Space

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Virgin Galactic aims to launch the first commercial passenger flight into space, and is in tough competition with US space company Blue Origin.

But Sir Richard has a long history of underestimating the time it takes his firm to get test flights into the air, and the company has repeatedly missed his lofty targets.

Branson cited a Labour Force Survey that found that in 2016, in the United Kingdom alone, mental health accounted for 15.8 million sick days. Then, in 2016, the VSS Unity, which replaced the VSS Enterprise, completed its first glide test with flying colors and completed a few more powered flight tests in April and May.

Last year, Branson announced that he wanted his company in space, operating commercial flights, by the end of 2018.

Later on, in June, the VSS Unity broke Mach 2 speed in a 42-second rocket burn test.

Sir Richard is in a race with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to send the first fee-paying passengers into space.

In Singapore, billionaire and founder of Virgin, said that the company is close to launching its first mission into space, he hopes to briefly leave the Ground - and not even in the coming years and months, writes naked-science.

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"If I have a room full of 10 people, eight out of 10 would love to go to space if they could afford it", he said.

To reach the Karman line, a spaceship has to cruise at an altitude of 100 kilometers above sea level.

"I'm sure there are many people on the Virgin Group board who may question my level of sanity, but I firmly believe that yes, space travel and space tourism can be truly sustainable", he told The Business Times in an exclusive interview.

"(Prices) are unlikely to ever come down to a point where millions are able to go to space, but we can try to at least bring it down to where tens of thousands of people can become astronauts.

Virgin Galactic, founded by Branson in 2004, is working to carry tourists on a brief journey to space, dozens of miles above the Earth's surface. The upper atmosphere is generally regarded to give way to space at an altitude of 62 miles (100km), almost twice the altitude achieved in the July test flight.

He shouldn't be getting very little sleep, ' Branson said.