Branson will be the first billionaire to fly to space on a spacecraft that he funded, instead of Bezos.
Virgin Galactic had long planned to fly customers. However, its development program was stalled by several mishaps. One of these was a 2014 test flight accident that claimed the life of a copilot.
Bezos and Branson have been trying to launch suborbital rockets capable of taking wealthy thrillseekers, at speeds up to 2,300 miles an hour, to a few hundred miles above Earth since the early 2000s. Their efforts have been described as "billionaire space race."
Branson, however, has stated repeatedly in interviews that he isn't interested in "racing to space."
During a recent interview, he said that "people have turned it into race." It would be extremely dangerous to call it a race. Once we have checked all boxes, we will go up. Then we will invite some people who signed up to go along with us. But we don't really see it as a race.