Richard Branson is finally getting his trip to space on Sunday.
It has been a very long wait for Mr. Branson, the irreverent, 70-year-old British billionaire who leads a galaxy of Virgin companies. In 2004, he founded Virgin Galactic to provide adventurous tourists with rides on rocket-powered planes to the edge of space and back.
At the time, he thought commercial service would begin in two to three years. Instead, close to 17 years have passed. Virgin Galactic says it still has three more test flights to conduct, including the one on Sunday, before it can be ready for paying passengers.
For this flight, Mr. Branson will be a member of the crew. His task is to evaluate the cabin experience for future customers.
The flight is scheduled to take off on Sunday morning from Spaceport America in New Mexico, about 180 miles south of Albuquerque.
Virgin will broadcast coverage of the flight beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. The launch was pushed back about 90 minutes from its original start time because weather conditions overnight at the spaceport resulted in a delay of the spacecraft leaving its hangar. But as the sun rose, weather at the launch site looked favorable for the flight.
Stephen Colbert will be hosting the livestream. The singer Khalid is scheduled to perform a new song after the crew lands. And Mr. Branson tweeted a picture in the morning with Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, who is in New Mexico to watch the flight.
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