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Branson Aims Mid-2018 Space Trip as Virgin Resumes Powered Tests

Branson Aims Mid-2018 Space Trip as Virgin Resumes Powered Tests

Years more than 2 and a half after the fatal breakup of the experimental rocket Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson is set to restart engine test flights while the billionaire businessman aims for his first trip to space in the middle of next year.

Following the completion of a series of non-slip exits, engine tests are scheduled every three weeks in order to expand space by November or December Branson said in an interview. After its own flight, full commercial passenger operations should begin by the end of 2018, he said.

The Branson update is the most detailed since the original SpaceShipTwo October 2014 crash of Virgin Galactic, in which copilot Michael Alsbury died when the vessel was prematurely ripped free after a braking mechanism. While the Mojave Desert accident had only a few months before the first commercial flight was to be expected, Branson said that the ability to travel to the confines of the space remains intact, leaving a number of competitors.

“We will never be able to build enough spacecraft,” Branson said Wednesday in Hong Kong after the introduction of Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. of Melbourne. “The lawsuit is huge.”

Branson was a leader of the new space race then founded Virgin Galactic in 2004. Since then, rivals like Blue Origin LLC Jeff Bezos and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Elon Musk, or SpaceX have grown up, focusing on reusable rockets to reduce the cost of Space travel.

Wednesday, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 10 rocket from 2017, just over a week after sending a total of 11 communications satellites with two rockets, the first stage amplifiers recovered from their subsequent reuse.

Musk The company has contracts with NASA about $ 4.2 billion for the transportation of astronauts and supplies to the Space Station.

The new Blue Shepard rocket flew suborbital space five times since November 2015. The suborbital space is high enough so that passengers undergo weightlessness but not high enough to orbit Earth.

Branson, 67, on July 18, said there was a role for various delivery systems, particularly the deployment of satellites, considered as a positive element for Virgin Galactic’s future activity. The company’s Orbit Virgin arm is working on a two-stage rocket that will carry small satellites, with the test rocket to be removed from an aircraft in the first quarter of 2018, the Briton said.

“There is certainly demand for all three,” Branson said on competing projects. “We can take off within 24 hours a few satellites and the back.” With rockets land, there is a long waiting time. Elon has larger rockets, so he has advantages there.

Branson declined to comment directly announced Donald Trump June 30 will restart a board at the time of the Cold War, which helped form space policy or at the suggestion of the United States president that private companies should play “an important role” In the next phase of space technology.

“I think to myself, Jeff Bezos and Elon are doing it,” he said. “I do not think I heard anything very exciting that came out of the administration in terms of space, but maybe we were surprised.”

Virgin Galactic will also play a role in developing the planned supersonic plan elements Boom Technologies, Branson said, and will build parts of the XB-1 demonstrator in which it plans to start the United States to begin work before the end of this Year, according to

Branson, a UK vocal opponent to leave the European Union, said he hoped the country now faces a ‘lovelier’ Brexit of the company following the May general election results, which left the conservatives In power with fewer seats and depend on the support of a party.

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