Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos launching his rocket company Blue Origin rocket into space on July 20 is the talk of the world. Bezos was aiming to become the first billionaire to touch space. But Richard Branson, another billionaire and head of Virgin Galactic, announced on July 11 that he was going to space, a massive blow to Bezos’ dream. Seventy-year-old Branson’s journey is the latest chapter in Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic’s winter struggle to dominate the gold rush over the future of the space tourism sector.
There were six people in the group, including Branson. The killer trailer video was also released. Among them is an Indian woman. Sirisha Bandula with Telugu roots. Originally from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Sirisha later grew up and studied in Houston, Texas, USA. If successful, Sirisha will become the third Indian after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams to reach space. And the fifth person of Indian origin to reach space.
Sirisha holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in the US and a master’s degree in management from Georgetown University. He then worked in Texas as an aerospace engineer and later as a space policy specialist at the Commercial Space Flight Federation.
In 2015, Sirisha joined Virgin Galactic Company. He is currently the Vice President of the Company’s Department of Government Affairs. The main focus of Sirisha’s visit is research. Another woman, Beth Moses, was part of the group. Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut Beth was part of the company’s first human carrier mission.
The group, including Sirisha, will depart from Virgin Galactic Station in New Mexico, USA, aboard Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane, VSS Unity. The journey lasts from an hour to 75 minutes. Sirisha’s grandfather still lives in Guntur. Bandula Ragaya, a former agricultural researcher, now lives a comfortable life in Janapadu village.
English Summary: Space Race: Virgin’s Branson beats Amazon’s Bezos by 9 days in sprint to the stars
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