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Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic finally moves to his space tourism



After two successful test missions from his rocket-driven spacecraft over the past few months, the company announced on Friday that it will move its spacecraft and 100 of its workers to a building called Spaceport America in the state this summer. They will join about 50 other employees who are already working there.
It will take a few months to settle, and Galactic will conduct "the last two or three tests" with only test pilots and crew members on board, Branson told CNN Business & # 39; Rachel Crane on Friday.

Then it will be ready to fly its first paying customers.

Hundreds of people are busy driving a short high-speed ride aboard a virgin galactic spacecraft and have agreed to pay $ 200,000 to $ 250,000 per seat.

Branson plans to be the first non-crew to board the aircraft.

"Hopefully, within many months, I will fulfill my dream of going to space and others will soon follow," Branson said.

Spaceport America was built ten years ago by New Mexico officials, mainly using local taxpayer dollars ̵

1; and it has been waiting for Virgin Galactic, its anchor rental company, to move into the site.

Branson's launch has spent 15 years building and testing its spacecraft in California's Mojave Desert. It took much longer than expected, partly due to an accident in 2014 that killed a co-pilot. Some workers will stay in the Mojave at Virgin Galactic's headquarters.
Spaceport America has experienced a lot of pushback in New Mexico. Critics have called the project a badly wrong plan to revive the state's economy with commercial spaceflight. The plant still has to suck up millions of tax money while sitting empty.

But now, Virgin Galactic says it is ready to fulfill its promise to make New Mexico a space tourism and air travel destination and a great blessing to the local economy.

  Virgin Galactic jumps back from tragedy with great plans for the future

"We're not just talking about humans we send into the room, we are talking about [bringing out] family and friends, "Branson told CNN Business. "There will be airplane training inside the space gate, and there will be places to eat for their families, hot air ballooning, fishing and mountain biking, etc. It's something we need to organize."

  Spaceport America has been waiting for several years for Virgin Galactic to move in.

Branson's announcement came one day after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave a long update on his own rocket company, Blue Origin, and plans to build a lunar land capable of return people to the moon.

Bezos has also spent years working on their tourism plans, and the company is expected to compete directly with Virgin Galactic in that industry. Bezos confirmed Thursday that Blue Origin expects to start their first person in the room by the end of the year.

Branson did not say whether he expects Virgin Galactic to be fully operational before Blue Origin. But he told CNN Business it doesn't matter to him.

"It's huge what Jeff [Bezos] and his team do," he said. "And the excitement for the world now is that you have Jeff, you have Elon [Musk of SpaceX] and ourselves with different approaches to take people into the room and colonize places like the moon in the future."


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