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Will Richard Branson’s space tourists ever blast off?

by Jon Ungoed-Thomas
SIR RICHARD BRANSON’S space tourism company has amassed $80m (£48.5m) in fares and deposits from would-be passengers, according to a critical biography yet he still has no licence to fly them from his “spaceport” in America or a rocket proven to have enough power to do so.

The bizarre inside story of Virgin Galactic — Branson’s long-delayed journey into space — is revealed today in the scathing new biography by Tom Bower, whom the flamboyant entrepreneur once sued unsuccessfully for libel.

Bower, who is celebrated for his investigative biographies that embarrass the super-rich, points out that Branson initially predicted that his first passengers would take off in 2007. The timetable has slipped ever since.

Branson, who has personally invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the project, announced in 2013 that he would be on the first flight on Christmas Day

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