At last week’s 2017 Nordic Business Forum, Richard Branson spoke about how he ended up opening his own airline company, Virgin Atlantic, and how he hopes to take his passengers to space in the very near future.
Since his early days of Virgin Atlantic, Branson’s flying has evolved into an ambitious space venture in Virgin Galactic. However, unlike Elon Musk, Branson’s priority isn’t to go to Mars.
“[Getting to Mars} is an incredible challenge, and I suspect Elon [Musk] will get there first. He’s more interested in big rockets going big distances.” Branson said. “My love for space is about how much it can do for people back here on earth.”
Branson’s Virgin Galactic has been testing the capabilities of their VSS Unity, a commercial suborbital plane for space. Earlier in 2017, they tried out the ship’s re-entry system after successfully completing several flights last year.
Back in May, Branson had said that he was confident Virgin Galactic would be bringing their first tourists to space by 2018, and now he says “We are hopefully about three months before we are in space, maybe six months before I’m in space,” according to Business Insider.
But Virgin Galactic isn’t just intended for sightseeing in space. Branson also wants to use the company’s ships—which reach speeds of 3,000 mph—for high-speed point-to-point travel.
“That is something we are going to be in the best position in the world to do.”