COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Sir Richard Branson, who has been in space for less than a year with Virgin Galactic, aspires to exchange trips with Elon Musk and travel with SpaceX in the near future. In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Branson said he hopes to be able to go to space on one of Musk’s spacecraft and that he will be able to travel to space on one of his. In July 2021, almost two decades after establishing Virgin Galactic, Branson realized his ambition of traveling to the edge of space.
Virgin Galactic’s Unity 22 flight crew – including Richard Branson, Sirisha Bandla, and Colin Bennett – were awarded wings by the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, in recognition of their achievement in crossing the 80 kilometers (50 miles) altitude mark that the United States recognizes as the boundary to space. As Branson put it, he and Musk are “excellent friends,” and that Musk purchased a Virgin Galactic ticket “a long time ago,” according to the billionaire. SpaceX started launching humans into orbit in 2020 and has successfully flown a total of 18 people into orbit to far.
Since the beginning of the year, shares of Virgin Galactic have fallen by about 33%. Currently, Virgin Galactic is in the process of refurbishing its spacecraft VSS Unity and carrier plane VMS Eve, which will take many months. As of October, the business had given up on finishing its test flight program and had postponed the launch of its commercial space tourism service until the fourth quarter of this year. In February, the business said that the renovations are proceeding according to plan and that they should be completed by the third quarter.
In the interim, under the leadership of CEO Michael Colglazier, who was hired in July 2020, Virgin Galactic has made significant modifications to its structure and brand. Earlier this year, Virgin Galactic announced a redesign of its logo, replacing the iris of founder Sir Richard Branson with a purple outline of its spaceship. The firm also announced the resignation of Chamath Palihapitiya, who had served as head of the board of directors.
Additionally, since the firm went public, Branson has reduced his ownership of Virgin Galactic via four bulk stock sales, despite the fact that he remains the company’s biggest single stakeholder through his holding company, The Virgin Group. Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson has said that he has completed “the kind of heavy-lifting aspect of my job.” However, he has also said that he would “always be associated” with the organization. “I had lunch with Michael [Colglazier] today, and we came up with a lengthy list of things that I’m intending to accomplish… so it doesn’t seem like I’m ducking out of here,” Branson said. “I’m not ducking out of here,” Branson said. “I’ll surely assist in any way I can.”