How Virgin Group founder Richard Branson spends $5 billion net worth

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Sir Richard Branson has taken the lead in the race to space by claiming Virgin Galactic is just "weeks" away from its first trip into space. Branson told the New Yorker earlier this year, but he says: "If you are an optimist and you talk ahead of yourself, then everybody around you has got to catch up and try to get there".

Branson has previously said he thinks Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin would both "have a person in space roundabout the same time". But the firm's plans have been delayed by numerous setbacks and the loss of the company's previous space plane in a 2014 accident that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury. Mr Branson said the first spaceship is "99.9 per cent complete".

Branson's estimation puts the Virgin Galactic project not far behind its initial deadline.

Despite the recent successful test flight after this tragic incident, it remains hard to believe that they will launch successfully so soon.

Currently, the fare for getting on a Virgin Galactic spaceship stands at roughly $250,000 and it's not expected to come down any time soon.

"Taking care of the mental health of staff, customers, and even the wider community should be a priority for any business", Branson said.

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"Virgin Australia is very focussed on supporting the mental health of its passengers and team members, and there are very few of us who haven't been directly or indirectly impacted by anxiety".

The total trip time would last between 90 minutes and two hours.

Virgin's commercial space flight venture was founded in 2004 and has been competing with Elon Musk's SpaceX and Amazon to send the first paying passengers to the stars.

But while Sir Richard believes Musk is "doing fantastically well" in getting cargo into space - including his own vehicle - the real tussle is between the Virgin boss and Bezos.

Virgin Galactic reached a top altitude of 170,800 feet (52,000 metres) during a test of its VSS Unity spacecraft, which has room for six passenger and is lifted toward space on a huge carrier aricraft, on May 29. The company is developing commercial spacecraft and aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists and suborbital launches for space science missions.

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