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FLOAT ME TO THE MOON; VIRGIN SPACE VENTURE SET TO GO PUBLIC NEXT WEEK AS BRANSON EYES LUNAR LUXURY.

Byline: ALEX DANIEL AND JESSICA CLARK @alexmdaniel @jclarkjourno

SIR RICHARD Branson expects his space venture Virgin Galactic will float on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, he announced yesterday.

The billionaire said he is "bullish" about the listing and hopes to ring the bell himself as his space flight company becomes the first to go public.

"We've got Virgin Galactic that, all going well, should be floating and should be the first public space company in the market on Monday," Branson told City A.M.

"Virgin Galactic is there to initially put people into space, make them astronauts, and then on the back of putting people into space, we've just done a deal with Boeing to start looking at point to point travel."

That would allow passengers to travel between two locations on Earth using a Virgin Galactic spaceship.

Earlier this month, Boeing announced a $20m (PS15.5m) investment in Virgin Galactic in preparation for the company's public listing.

The space race is heating up as it competes with rivals such as Blue Origin, backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk's Space X to be the first firm to offer tourist trips to space.

Branson even raised the possibility of a lunar hotel as the next step rather than focusing on humans living on Mars, an idea Bezos has previously floated.

a "We're looking at creating something like a Virgin Hotel in space," he said while at an event in Israel.

"It may develop into that [colonising Mars]...But I think that we feel a hotel in space would be better, maybe just on the Moon, may be better than actually colonising."

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Author:ALEX DANIEL AND JESSICA CLARK @alexmdaniel @jclarkjourno
Publication:City AM (London, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2019
Words:274
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