Richard Branson aims to beat Bezos to space

There's a new favorite to win the race for first billionaire in space.

Virgin Galactic announced Thursday that founder Richard Branson would be blasting off aboard its test flight on July 11th

That's nine days ahead of Branson's big competition: Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his rival space tourism venture Blue Origin.

It's the fourth crewed mission by Virgin Galactic, But the first to carry a full crew including Branson, two pilots and three other specialists.

The launch will take them to the edge of space.

Beyond the earth's atmosphere, passengers will be able to experience a few minutes of weightlessness.

A successful flight would mark a key milestone for an ambitious new industry hoping to go mainstream.

In a statement, Branson said that private commercial space flight "set to open space to humankind and change the world for good,"

After two more test flights Virgin says it will throw open the hatch to welcome tourists in 2022.

The billionaire race to space also includes SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk.

Musk has not set a date for his space flight.

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