Well he finally did it. 17 years after Richard Branson first launched Virgin Galactic, the thrill-seeking billionaire has taken to the skies and reached space
In his boldest adventure yet, the 70 year old Richard Branson took off for the first stage of the flight.
On the ground, about 500 people watched on, including Richard Branson’s wife, children and grandchildren.
On board were his five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space tourism company.
The space plane detached from the mother ship at an altitude of about 13km and fired its engine, reaching the edge of space about 88km up.
After a few minutes of weightlessness for the crew, the space plane is began its decent, set to end with a glide to a runway landing.
Richard Branson couldn’t contain his excitement, as he spoke on the journey back to earth.
He thanked his crew and remembered all those who had worked on the mammoth project.
After a decade of promises, the moment finally came for Richard Branson to unveil his spaceship for the people.
He said on board:: “To all you kids down there, I was once a kid with a dream. Now I’m up here, in a space ship!”
Customer spaceflight experience
As Branson took to space onboard Virgin Galactic, his official role for the journey will be “evaluating customer spaceflight experience”.
And that’s an important role – after all anyone who wants to rise Virgin Galactic will need to part with a quarter of a million dollars first, and that price is expected to rise.
Along with the two pilots, there is room for six passengers with a flight time of about an hour and a half.
The spaceship will just go over the 82 kilometres, which is where the US recognises someone as having been into space.
Then, passengers will get to experience about six minutes of weightlessness and seeing the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of space.
They will then descend, landing on a runway much like the old space shuttle or a normal passenger plane.
The new space race
Richard Branson’s adventure will pre-empt next week’s first flight for Blue Origin, as Jeff Bezos launches his space dreams.
Jeff and Blue Origin are promising a completely different experience for their customers.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard, which has no pilots and room for six passengers, reaches more than 100 kilometres high, which is the internationally recognised boundary of space.
Passengers on Blue Origin will get about three minutes to float around and feel like they are in space.
Might be half the time, but the price is 50,000 dollars cheaper than flying on Virgin Galactic.
But either way, the expensive thrill ride marks the beginning of earth’s commercial passenger trips into space.
Virgin Galactic doesn’t expect to start flying customers before next year.
2500 employees to be stood down from Qantas
About 2500 frontline Qantas and Jetstar employees will be stood down for two months
It comes as the airline struggles to deal with lockdowns in states across Australia.
The national carrier says the stand-down is a temporary measure to deal with a drop in flying caused by COVID restrictions in Sydney, – which is its home base.
No job losses are expected as part of the move.
In a statement, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says:
“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people.”
“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.“
Qantas said it welcomed the targeted Federal Government support offered for those stood down outside of declared hotspots and to retain domestic aviation capability.
Outside the square – Twitter CEO’s grand plans for Afterpay
Jack Dorsey has used Square’s quarterly earnings call to outline his company’s future and convince shareholders to support the $39billion dollar Afterpay takeover bid
Dorsey believes bringing Afterpay into business operations will increase e-commerce activity across both platforms and further entice young shoppers to spend up.
It plans to takeover Afterpay in a deal that values the Australian company at $39 billion. That makes it the biggest buyout deal so far in Australian corporate history.
The Twitter founder says Afterpay has a unique advantage in the buy now, pay later sector because it was the first on the scene and it has been built up “authentically”.
Following the takeover announcement, Square’s shares fell by 5 percent when compared with trading on Friday, as investors made sense of the deal.
However, after Dorsey’s pitch at the quarterly earnings call, Squares shares were up 6 percent from Friday.
It comes as shareholders voice their concerns that Square is failing to bring merchants and retail users together… and questioning how Afterpay will create value for the company.
James Whelan of VFS Group weighed in on whether Afterpay is in fact authentic.
‘Jungle Cruise’ tallies $34.2 million in domestic debut, reaches Disney+ record
After Disney struggled during the past few weeks, the studios latest feature film “Jungle Cruise” opened to $61 million dollars worldwide.
The film was also released on Disney Plus’ Premier Access and brought in over $30 million globally on the platform.
Overall, the film, which is based on the beloved Disney theme park ride, notched more than $90 million.
The “Jungle Cruise” opening is also notable because it comes just a few days after Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney.
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