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Billionaire face off: Branson to beat Bezos to space by 9 days

·2-min read
Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson is looking to beat Jeff Bezos to space by nine days (Source: Getty)

Amazon founder and world's richest man Jeff Bezos has been counting down the days until he ventures into space for the first time, but it seems Sir Richard Branson wants to beat him there.

Bezos announced in June he would be going to space on 20 July 2021, when the first manned Blue Origin flight takes off.

Blue Origin is Bezos’ space exploration company, taking on the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

And now Branson has stolen the wind beneath his proverbial wings by announcing he would be launching the first Virgin Galactic manned flight on 11 July 2021 - nine days before Bezos.

“The ‘Unity 22’ mission will be the twenty-second flight test for VSS Unity and the company’s fourth crewed spaceflight,” Virgin Galactic said in the announcement.

“It will also be the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including the company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, who will be testing the private astronaut experience.”

The Virgin Galactic flight will also be livestreamed on VirginGalactic.com as well as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. The flight will happen at 11pm AEST on 11 July 2021.

Sir Richard Branson with the Virgin Galactic space crew
Branson is aiming to go to space on 11 July 2021 (Source: Instagram@virgingalactic)

Bezos’ Blue Origin space flight

Bezos announced his intention to board the first manned Blue Origin flight on his Instagram where he said his brother would also be joining him.

“To see the Earth from space, that changes you, changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity,” Bezos said in the video.

“It's one Earth. I want to go on this flight because it's a thing I've wanted to do all my life. It's an adventure. It's a big deal for me.”

Bezos is currently auctioning off the one remaining seat available on the flight for someone who isn't part of the crew.

Blue Origin said the winning bid will be donated to its own foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM (*science, technology, engineering and maths) and help “invent the future of life in space”.

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