- Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic successfully conducted a flight to space
- After having setbacks including a death and injury of pilots, Branson became the first person to reach space in an aircraft funded in part by himself
On July 11th, Richard Branson became the first person to ride into space aboard a rocket that was in part funded by himself. Its development was under Virgin Galactic, one of the companies he founded. Along with him, Virgin Galactic employees Beth Moses, Sirisha Bandala, and Colin Bennett accompanied him, as well as the two pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci.
The aircraft, the SpaceShipTwo, is a winged aircraft with just a single rocket motor. Development on said aircraft has been taking place within the last 20 years. The aircraft carrying the SpaceShipTwo was the WhiteKnightTwo, a twin-fuselage aircraft that brought them close to the space barrier. The success of this flight was a landmark for the advancement of commercial space flights. Hundreds of tickets have already been reserved for such flights. The industry is set to see a boom in sales with the success of Virgin Galactic, along with other competitors such as Jeff Bezos, who successfully conducted a flight a little over a week later. While some condemn these flights due to tax payer money being spent on them, it is clear that this industry will see a large amount of revenue.