Astronaut in The Making? Sir Richard Branson is Getting Ready To Go To Space
Sir Richard Branson says he’s months away from becoming an astronaut, and “neck and neck” with Jeff Bezos in the race to begin space tourism.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Branson said of Bezos: “I think we’re both neck and neck as to who will put people into space first. We’re talking about months away, not years away — so it’s close.”
The British entrepreneur said: “Elon is doing fantastically well getting cargo into space, and he’s building bigger and bigger rockets.”
But the commercial travel space race is between Branson and Bezos, the UK businessman believes.
Branson added that he hopes to become an astronaut within 12 months with Virgin Galactic, and he is already preparing for his experience, by playing tennis four times a day, and gruelling centrifuge training.
All astronauts are forced to go through G-force training, which mimics the experience of take-off and travel through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Sir Richard added: “If you’re going to really enjoy the experience, the fitter you can be the better”.
With that being said, Branson has had a hard time keeping deadlines. When he founded Virgin Galactic as a commercial space travel company, his initial goal was to see a crewed maiden flight by 2009. Branson stopped self-imposing deadlines after the company’s SpaceShipTwo crashed in October 2014, resulting in the death of one of the aircraft’s two copilots. Since then, Branson has appeared more hesitant to rush the process, but last year announced plans for a crewed Virgin Galactic spaceflight slated for 2018.
The 67-year-old multi-millionaire has been investing in commercial space travel since 2004, when he founded space tourism company Virgin Galactic.