SpaceX founder Elon Musk will soon join the list of billionaires who have taken a paid trip to space. However, Musk's planned trip will not be aboard a SpaceX. He will be using Virgin Galactic's services for which he has put down a $10,000 deposit, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had announced that he will be on board his space company, Blue Origins' first crewed spaceflight scheduled for later this month. However, Richard Branson-led Virgin Galactic made a similar announcement but scheduled their trip sooner. On Sunday, July 11, Virgin Galactic successfully completed its maiden flight, making Branson the first billionaire in space.
Prior to his space trip, Branson was visited by SpaceX founder, Elon Musk.
Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready.— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
Watch #Unity22 launch and livestream TODAY at 7:30 am PT | 10:30 am ET | 3:30 pm BST.@virgingalactic @elonmusk https://t.co/1313b4RAKI pic.twitter.com/FRQqrQEbH8
Speaking to The Sunday Times, before his space outing, Branson confirmed that Musk had purchased a ticket on Galactic's services. Reciprocating Musk's warm gesture, Branson also said, "Elon’s a friend and maybe I’ll travel on one of his ships one day." So, SpaceX fans can relax. Musk isn't giving up on his crewed spaceflights. For now, he is happy to take in the Virgin experience for himself.
But he is not the only one. As per Virgin Galactic, the company has already collected $80 million in sales and deposits from people who are interested in taking their spaceflight. Priced at $250,000 apiece, the Virgin Galactic experience includes an hour trip on the company's spaceplane, VVS Unity, a spacesuit to keep, and training for the experiencing few seconds of weightlessness in space. Along with Musk, many celebrities have signed up for this trip. The list is now about 600 people long but we do not know where Musk is positioned.
Branson's trip, however, wasn't without controversy. According to Blue Origin, the Virgin mission did not reach the Karman line, an imaginary line about 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Earth, commonly regarded as the boundary of space, The Independent reported. VSS Unity reached 55 miles (88 kilometers) before returning to Earth.