The man who used to be the world's most popular cross-disciplinary businessman and self-publicist until Elon Musk came along is preparing to fire himself into space to regain his self-love crown, as Richard Branson says his Virgin Galactic enterprise is mere weeks away from hitting space -- and he's putting himself atop the list of passengers.
Virgin Galactic's disaster-struck space tourism programme is apparently nearing final launch readiness, with Branson telling US news site CNBC that: "We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years," after which point his piggybacking little spaceships will open their hatches to the paying public; beating rival nouveau billionaires Musk and Bezos to the PR win of being first to offer orbital holidays to the super rich.
The current asking price for a short trip to the lower edges of space costs around £200,000 to book through Virgin Galactic, although Branson says that once his fleet is fully running that could fall to around £40,000 within a decade or so. And that'll be a legitimate offsettable business expense for professional Instagrammers, so there ought to be loads of them up flying about up there, pouting in front of small, black windows. [CNBC via BBC]