Richard Branson’s rocket launch to the edge of space on Sunday will mark a return to the daring feats that first established the arrogant billionaire’s reputation.
For decades, Branson has engaged in a series of record-breaking stunts as he flew a parachute 30 miles (48 km) between England and France.
He crossed the Atlantic in a speedboat in just three days, then traversed the Pacific in a hot air balloon ride at speeds of up to 245 miles per hour.
His adventures attracted huge publicity for his Virgin Group companies, but he was often rescued by emergency services on multiple occasions.
With the goal of being on the record list, Branson is now racing, Another billionaire is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, in the space tourism race, as it is scheduled that tomorrow, Sunday, witness his ascent on the first space tourism trip through his own company, just 9 days before Bezos, who is scheduled to make a trip to the borders of space on July 20, the other, using Blue Origin Vehicle.
Branson announced that he will be on a test flight for Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. A week before he turned 71 years old.
The decision to travel came after approval from the United States. Virgin Galactic’s Federal Aviation Administration transports fee-paying passengers.
Branson will fly aboard Virgin’s VSS Unity spaceplane, which carries itself aloft on the so-called mother plane, a journey expected to take about 90 minutes from takeoff to landing. After being launched from the carrier aircraft, the unit will ignite a rocket engine to propel it to an altitude of 88 kilometers above the ground.
The flight approaches the space line defined by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known as the “Karman Line”, which is 100 kilometers from the Earth’s surface.
Branson, who was knighted in 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to entrepreneurship,” is worth about $7.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
A company spokeswoman said in December that more than 40 Virgin brand companies raise approximately $22 billion in annual revenue through partnerships, affiliations and direct ownership.