U.K. billionaire Richard Branson said his Virgin Galactic venture is on track to carry its first fare-paying passenger to the edge of space this year, and that he plans to take his family on a flight some time in 2014.
Virgin Galactic, which completed the third rocket-powered supersonic flight of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle from Mojave Air and Space Port in California last month, is on course to meet its operational targets, Branson said today in Dubai.
"It will be the start of a whole new space era," the entrepreneur said in answer to questions at the 2014 United Arab Emirates Government Summit.
Writing in his book "Branson Behind the Mask," published Feb. 6, author Tom Bower says safety regulations, performance issues and the physical challenges of a rocket launch mean Virgin Galactic is unlikely ever to attain its goal of carrying passengers into sub-orbital flight.
To contact the reporter on this story: Deena Kamel Yousef in Dubai, UAE at dhussein1bloomberg.net
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