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Sir Richard Branson: Along with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, we can achieve 'incredible' space travel

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read
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The great space race is never too far removed from the mind of billionaire business mogul Sir Richard Branson, even on a day when he is committing millions of dollars to take genetic testing company 23andMe public via a SPAC.

“I am very excited, I mean it has taken us 16 years to get to this stage. Our next flight is penciled in around Valentine’s Day, and then it will be another test flight, and then I am hoping to go up myself. So I am personally very excited, and I think all of the people signed up to go into space are extremely excited that we are on the verge of being able to fulfill their dreams,” Branson told Yahoo Finance Live.

Without question, Branson is a big-thinking, well-capitalized business person in the space travel industry.

Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 with a goal of taking himself — and those willing to pay for the experience — into space. He took the company public in 2019 in a bid to raise capital to finally bring his dream to reality. Virgin’s market valuation has swelled to more than $13 billion amid hope the hard-charging Branson accomplishes his mission.

Virgin’s efforts haven’t come cheaply.

The company notched just under $200 million in net losses for the nine-months ended Sept. 30. Virgin used up $162 million in operating cash flow for the nine-months ended Sept. 30.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, poses for a photo outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company's IPO, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, poses for a photo outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company's IPO, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

And of course, Branson isn’t the only billionaire eyeing space.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has had great success launching SpaceX rockets in a bid to reach Mars. Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos continues along his path at Blue Origin to compete with Virgin in the suborbital space tourism industry. Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO this summer could accelerate Blue Origin’s space efforts, which have lacked the public glitz of Virgin and SpaceX.

Branson thinks the competition between the three business titans only means good things for space exploration.

“We have had two very, very big and powerful competitors in Elon [Musk] and Jeff [Bezos], and they are all doing something slightly different. If you put the three projects together in one, I think we can all achieve something pretty incredible, and some pretty incredible things,” Branson said.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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