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12 Jul, 2021 14:45

Time for a Moscow Musk? After Branson’s successful flight, Russia’s space agency chief asks country’s ‘oligarchs’ to chip in

Time for a Moscow Musk? After Branson’s successful flight, Russia’s space agency chief asks country’s ‘oligarchs’ to chip in

The head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has called on the country’s wealthy to start investing in space technology after British billionaire Sir Richard Branson successfully flew to the edge of space in his company’s rocket.

Writing on Twitter, Dmitry Rogozin encouraged wealthy Russians to follow in the footsteps of Branson. “I hope that someday our billionaire oligarchs will start spending their money, not on yachts and vanity fairs, but on the development of space technology and knowledge of space,” Rogozin said.

He added that Branson’s suborbital flight has “nothing to do with professional space flight” but is nevertheless a “landmark event” in both “technological development and expanding opportunities.”

Also on rt.com ‘Can’t wait to join the club’: Space billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk congratulate Richard Branson on his flight

On Sunday, Branson and five other crew members flew in the Virgin Galactic spaceship VSS Unity. The spacecraft was able to accelerate to three times the speed of sound, reaching an altitude of 86 kilometers (53 miles). The crew stayed in space for several minutes, experiencing weightlessness.

After the flight, Branson was congratulated by SpaceX head Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Musk and Bezos are the British billionaire’s most significant competition in the commercial space flight arena, both having spent vast sums on building rockets.

Next week, Bezos will go into space on New Shepard, designed by his privately funded aerospace company Blue Origin.

Also on rt.com Virgin founder Richard Branson successfully lands after beating Jeff Bezos in billionaire space race

Roscosmos itself is no stranger to space tourism, having sent numerous tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) in recent years. Later this year, the agency will send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and film producer Yozo Hirano there on one of its spacecraft.

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