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Kirti Pandey
Updated Jul 20, 2021 | 12:44 IST
Virgin Galactic versus New Origin
Launch pad: Virgin Galactic versus New Origin  |  Photo Credit: Twitter


  • The space race between two billionaires (whether they admit or not) is actually a fight for a bigger share of the space tourism pie.
  • While Richard Branson travelled in his SpaceShipTwo on Sunday, 11 July 2021 to the edge of space, Jeff Bezos will do it today, 20 July 2021.
  • The space modules developed by Branson's Virgin Galactic and Bezos' Blue Origin are completely different from each other.

Amazon founder billionaire Jeff Bezos will travel in his company (Blu Origin) made space vehicle to the Karman Line 100 km above the Earth along with his brother Mark, 82-year-old former pilot Wally Funk and an 18-year-old teen, who secured a seat after another billionaire bidder pulled out just a few days ago. After the 11 minutes long flight and 3-4 minutes of zero gravity, their capsule will touch down on Earth with the help of parachutes.,football-betting-odds-explained-uk

Richard Branson on 11 July 2021 onboard his SpaceShipTwo (ferried by mothership WhiteKnightTwo) with 5 others and Jeff Bezos on 20 July with 3 others are billionaires riding into space aviation history by travelling as space tourists to the edge of space and back. To understand the basic differences between the two space vehicles, we culled out some information from's article. You can read the complete article titled "New Shepard VS SpaceShipTwo" here


  1. Take-off and landing: WHile both are reusable modules, Virgin Galactic will have a takeoff from the runway with the mothership WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo (housing human passengers) between the fuselages. Blue Origin's New Shepard will be a rocket with a capsule (housing human passengers) on top and will blast off vertically. For landing, once the WhiteKnightOne reenters the atmosphere, becomes subsonic and reaches the lower portions of the atmosphere again, it straightens its wings back out and glides back to the runway to land with a simple skid -  a brake pad mechanism. The New Shepard will reenter the atmosphere and when only about 3 km above the ground the booster re-lights its BE-3 engine to propulsively land with the deployment of parachutes. 
  2. Controls: In the Virgin Galactic plane, humans are complete control all the while. There is no autopilot and no fly-by-wire. In comparison, the New Shepard is fully autonomous and of the six seats onboard, no seats need to go to pilots - leaving more room for passengers.
  3. Size: SpaceShipTwo is 18 m long with an 8.2 m wingspan and a tail height of 4.6 m. The New Shepard is  19 m and about 3.8 m wide.  
  4. Ride duration: SpaceShipTwo takes two hours from takeoff to touchdown. New Shepard will take about 10 minutes for the entire ride.
  5. Passenger capacity: Virgin Galactic = 2 pilots + 6 passengers; New origin = 6 passengers, no pilots.
  6. Weightlessness onboard: Passengers (astronauts) in both space vehicles will have 3-4 minutes of weightlessness.
  7. Maximum Height attained: Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity has flown about 89 km high and not touched the Karman Line )at 100 km - considered edge of space). New Shepard has done 105 km, several times.
  8. Seats: Virgin Galactic has self-retracting seat belts that unbuckle quickly so that passengers can take full advantage of weightlessness. 17 windows with easy to hold handles and adjustable seats that help when the plane flips on the belly so the passengers can view the Earth on way down. The New Shepard has massive windows that give an out of the world view.

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