Inside Virgin Galactic's race to put tourists in space

Mail Online | 8/13/2018 | Annie Palmer For
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Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has been known to set lofty goals for his aerospace company.

But the billionaire mogul has admitted that many of these over-ambitious deadlines are now 'embarrassing' to reflect on, in a wide-ranging interview with the New Yorker.

Branson - Points - Years - Virgin - Galactic

Branson has predicted at various points throughout the last few years that Virgin Galactic would soon be sending passengers into space.

He now acknowledges that this and other far-flung claims may have been a bit premature.

'It - Someone - Years - Quotes - Space

'It would be embarrassing if someone went back over the last thirteen years and wrote down all my quotes about when I thought we would be in space,' Branson told the New Yorker.

However, he believes these lofty goals are what helps Virgin Galactic stay competitive in the crowded market of private space exploration firms.

Optimist - Everybody

'If you are an optimist and you talk ahead of yourself, then everybody around you has got to catch up and try to get there,' he added.

Virgin Galactic has been hard at work trying to catch up with its rivals, which include Jeff Bezos' space tourism project Blue Origin and SpaceX, the rocket firm founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Virgin - Galactic - Crash - Pilot

In 2014, Virgin Galactic experienced a catastrophic crash that killed one pilot and injured another.

The SpaceShipTwo, a 60-foot-long craft designed to be the first ever to carry passengers into space, split into pieces as it fell over California's Mojave Desert.

Years - Company - Approval - US - Federal

It took two years for the company to regain approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration to fly SpaceShipTwo again.

In April, the company completed its first rocket-powered flight with SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity - a feat that is largely due to Virgin Galactic's skilled, lead test pilot Mark Stucky.

Stucky - Craft - Dozen - Test - Flights

Stucky, who piloted the craft on more than a dozen previous test flights, avoided near-disaster when he completed SpaceShipTwo's rocket-powered...
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