Branson's Desperate Bid to Beat Bezos to Space
Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson is trying to beat Jeff Bezos into space.
JORNADA DEL MUERTO DESERT, NEW MEXICO — Virgin Galactic may be working to send billionaire Virgin owner Richard Branson on a suborbital space flight two weeks before Amazon founder Bezos plans to board his Blue Origin company's New Shepard vehicle to do the same thing, according to an anonymous source who spoke to space blog Parabolic Arc.
Both flights are referred to as 'suborbital,' which means they do not reach speeds high enough to remain in Earth's orbit once they reach space, according to Space.com.
The flights do not come without risks. In 2014, a Virgin Galactic test flight crashed over the Mojave Desert, killing one of its pilots, according to the BBC. Furthermore, there are questions over what it means to reach space.
Virgin Galactic's latest test flight reached more than 55 miles or 89 kilometers above Earth, according to Space.com. This is above NASA's 50 mile or 80 kilometer definition of space. Blue Origin's New Shepard can reach above 62 miles or 100 kilometers, according to the BBC. That's known as the 'Karman Line,' which broad international agreement designates as the starting point for space.
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