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Richard Branson’s fury with Elon Musk over ‘can’t do tech’ snub exposed


Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and famed for his enormous wealth and advanced business projects, considers Richard Branson a friend. But that didn’t stop him doubting the Virgin founder’s credentials in the technology field. In 2014, he said: “I like Richard and I think he’s doing some cool things.

“But technology is not really his whack you know. But once the technology’s developed in terms of operating it in a way that people really like, I think he’s quite good at that.”

In an interview with Business Insider soon after the statement, Branson said that he hoped to prove his South African born counterpart wrong.

He said: “Well, I hope we’re about to prove him wrong in that. I mean, I would not be able to change a sparking plug and I would not be able to fly a spaceship or build a rocket or whatever.

“But what I am good at doing is finding brilliant people and surrounding myself with brilliant people.

“And you know, before Christmas, we’ll start to go into space. Early-ish next year, I’ll be going to space with my kid Sam.”

Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004, and is the vehicle behind Sir Richard’s aim to provide commercial space travel.

Earlier this month, Virgin Galactic’s spaceship VSS Unity landed in New Mexico, marking its first glide flight from Spaceport America.

The company has not set a date for the first commercial flights but has said it anticipates doing so in 2020 after delays.

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Sir Richard added in 2014: “We’re building our own spaceships shaped as aeroplanes. That means that one day we’ll be able to transport people across the Earth in spaceships.

“We’re going to be able to put thousands of small satellites into space. So at the moment Elon and I are in different areas, but there will come a time, I’m sure, where we’ll overlap.

“He’s done something extraordinary — I think our team has done something extraordinary, as well.”

Yesterday, Mr Musk’s planned launch of SpaceX’s Demo-2 was cancelled due to weather conditions.

The mission was meant to see two astronauts arrive at the International Space Station, and mark the first time in history that a commercial aerospace company has carried humans into Earth’s orbit.

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NASA and space fans have waited nearly a decade for this milestone, which will represent the return of human spaceflight to US soil.

The launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft from a Falcon 9 rocket is moving forward despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought both private and government operations to a halt in the US.

The Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage rocket “designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth’s orbit and beyond”.

The launch will go ahead on Saturday.



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