Richard Branson inspired by Apollo, his own space shot soon

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson says his spaceship has just a few more test flights before he jumps on board for the first tourist trip.

Branson celebrated his 69th birthday at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday during 50th anniversary celebrations for humanity’s first moon landing. He was joined by 100 other aspiring astronauts who have put down deposits to launch into space with Virgin Galactic. Like Branson, many in the crowd were inspired to fly into space by what he called “the most audacious journey of all time.”

Branson says three or four test flights will be conducted from New Mexico, beginning this fall, before engineers allow him to fly.

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