Richard Branson proclaims HR's role in mental health

Virgin Galactic will be in space in “weeks not months,” says Branson

Branson: Virgin Galactic To Put People In Space in 'Weeks, Not Months'

Branson's Virgin Galactic is racing against Amazon creator Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to launch the first out-of-this-world passenger flight and take paying passengers into space.

But Sir Richard has a long history of underestimating the time it takes his firm to get test flights into the air, and the company has repeatedly missed his lofty targets.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has an estimated net worth of $5 billion.

"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".

No rocket will be required for launch, instead a plane - known as the VSS Unity - will launch as normal and carry another vessel.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Branson said Virgin Galactic is "more than tantalisingly close" to its first trip to space.

"I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts, and go into space is very big, and I think it's up to us to produce as many spaceships as we can to cater to that demand", he said. The next logical step is reaching space in the craft.

We'll believe it once we see it; we've heard these sorts of predictions - and gone through a seemingly never-ending stream of failed timelines - many times before.

Branson has invested in space travel since 2004, and had initially expected to fly into to space himself sometime this year.

Virgin, meanwhile, offers tickets for $250,000 a pop (but hopes that amount will drop to around $40,000 or $50,000 over the next decade). Since then, the company has already enlisted around 800 passengers who paid $250,000 United States dollars each for a return ticket on the Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic has already completed several successful trial flights this year.

All Virgin Australia guests will also have access to the Smiling Mind app guided meditations via the Inflight Entertainment System, enabling the reduction of stress and anxiety during the flight. Back in 2014, an early version of the Virgin Galactic spaceship crashed in the Mojave Desert and killed one of the co-pilots.

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