Richard Branson’s space quest nears its destination

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Richard Branson wants everyone to be able to fly into space, he just needs a vehicle to take them there. Back in 2004, when 64-year-old test pilot Mike Melvill flew the privately-funded SpaceShipOne to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, it looked to everyone, including Branson, that commercial space travel was just around the corner. Nine years later, following a spate of setbacks, ballooning costs, and a tragic accident, it looks like Branson’s Virgin Galactic could soon get its spaceship. Wired walks us through the story thus far, from the ill-fated Pan Am Moon Flights Club to Space X’s successful resupply mission to the International Space Station. Despite emerging competition from the likes of Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin,…

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