Richard Branson Wants to Beat Jeff Bezos to Space

Today in relatable news, Richard Branson made a surprise announcement that he plans to go to space later this month—nine days before his fellow billionaire, Jeff Bezos.

The British billionaire, whose company Virgin has been developing a rocket-powered plane for decades, announced on Thursday that he will personally attempt to fly to space in it on July 11. That’s a full nine days before Amazon CEO Bezos attempts his own voyage.

This is a pivot from Branson, who in the past has claimed that he has no interest in a personal space race. “People have turned it into a race,” he told CNN recently. “It would be very dangerous to say turn it into a race. And the moment we have every boxed ticked, I will go up and then we will invite some of the people who have signed up to go with us—but we honestly don’t see it as a race.”

Virgin Galactic originally planned to start operating passenger flights to space years ago, but the development of its craft stalled after several hurdles, including a disastrous 2014 test flight that ended in a fatal crash.

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