In photos: Richard Branson's historic spaceflight
Updated 2:49 PM ET, Sun July 11, 2021
Richard Branson, through his company Virgin Galactic, is now the first billionaire to travel to space aboard a spacecraft he helped fund.
"We're here to make space more accessible to all," he said. "We want to turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today and tomorrow."
The trip came nine days before the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, is scheduled to make his own spaceflight.
Since the early 2000s, Branson and Bezos have been vying to develop, test and launch suborbital rockets that can take wealthy thrill-seekers on brief rides a few dozen miles above Earth. Their efforts have long been framed as a "billionaire space race."