15.5 C
Munich
Monday, July 26, 2021

Richard Branson Races Jeff Bezos to Space as Covid-19 Hits Business Back on Earth

Must read

Maggie MacNeil wins Canada’s first gold medal at Tokyo Olympics in 100m butterfly

The silver medal went to China's Zhang Yufei and the bronze to Australia's Emma McKeon. 

Alberta family cheers as Olympian who recovered from childhood brain injury heads to rowing finals

Support is rolling in for a 32-year-old Alberta rower who advanced to the Olympic finals this weekend and overcame serious injuries that included two...

Norway secures gold in men’s Olympic triathlon – National

By Mitch Phillips Reuters Posted July 25, 2021 7:56 pm Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+

Richard Branson hopes to beat Jeff Bezos into space this Sunday with the sort of high-profile act that made the British billionaire famous and helped him build his Virgin Group into a global brand.

Back on the ground, Mr. Branson’s business empire—straddling airlines, cruise ships, hotels and gyms—is trying to recover from the economic hit that many tourism and travel-focused businesses have suffered during the pandemic. Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., the space-tourism company that will take Mr. Branson on its first fully crewed space flight this weekend, and his satellite-launch company, Virgin Orbit, have been bright spots. They have been his main focus for several years, according to people familiar with the matter.

The launch, assuming no weather or technical issues, is scheduled nine days before Mr. Bezos, the Amazon.com Inc. founder, is slated to be part of the first crew carried by his own space-tourism company, Blue Origin LLC. The rival launches highlight the competition that could unfold in the coming years between billionaires to carry fee-paying passengers to the edge of space. SpaceX, the rocket company led by Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk, plans this year to carry paying passengers higher still.

Mr. Branson, 70 years old, has for years brought global attention to his businesses on the back of publicity-grabbing stunts, establishing a risk-taking, flamboyant persona that is a key part of the brand. Mr. Branson’s participation in the launch is a marketing opportunity but also important for assuring future paying customers that the flight is safe, said Will Whitehorn, a former senior Virgin executive who has discussed the flight with Mr. Branson.

“Nobody will feel confident in his commercial space flights if he is unwilling to do it himself,” said Mr. Whitehorn, who is also the president of UKspace, a trade association for British space companies. Virgin Galactic says its tickets have sold for $250,000 each, and the company has collected $80 million in sales and deposits.

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article

Maggie MacNeil wins Canada’s first gold medal at Tokyo Olympics in 100m butterfly

The silver medal went to China's Zhang Yufei and the bronze to Australia's Emma McKeon. 

Alberta family cheers as Olympian who recovered from childhood brain injury heads to rowing finals

Support is rolling in for a 32-year-old Alberta rower who advanced to the Olympic finals this weekend and overcame serious injuries that included two...

Norway secures gold in men’s Olympic triathlon – National

By Mitch Phillips Reuters Posted July 25, 2021 7:56 pm Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+