'I made it possible for them to do this': Trump takes credit for billionaires' space race because he 'revived NASA and created vital Space Force'

 Donald Trump said on Sunday that it was him creating the Space Force that sparked the space race between billionaires Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

'I made it possible for them to do this,' Trump told Fox News as he took credit for the revival of space programs and the private sector investment in forward movement.

'I actually said to my people: Let the private sector do it,' he told Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo in a phone-in interview. 'These guys want to come in with billions of dollars. Let's lease them facilities because you need certain facilities to send up rockets, and we have those facilities.'


'We have the greatest. And I reopened them because they were, as I told you, they were dead, they were closed, or essentially closed for the most part.'

The ex-president's comments come as Branson, an English business magnate with a net worth of $5.9 billion, went to space in his own spaceship.

'Better him than me. I would rather see Richard in the plane today than me in the spaceship,' Trump told Bartiromo. 'But if Richard loves it, and Bezos loves it, and a lot of rich guys love space.'

Branson, nearly 71, beat out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in making it to space.

Donald Trump on Sunday took credit for the 'billionaires' space race', claiming he paved the way for Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to take over the private sector investment in space travel and exploring the cosmos

Donald Trump on Sunday took credit for the 'billionaires' space race', claiming he paved the way for Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to take over the private sector investment in space travel and exploring the cosmos

Richard Branson, a 70-year-old British entrepreneur, pumped his fists in the air as he stepped onto the runway in New Mexico before skipping towards his daughter Holly's twins Etta and Artie and scooping them up in his arms

Richard Branson, a 70-year-old British entrepreneur, pumped his fists in the air as he stepped onto the runway in New Mexico before skipping towards his daughter Holly's twins Etta and Artie and scooping them up in his arms

'So I said, hey look, if Elon wants to stand up a rocket, let him do it,' Trump continued. 'We'll charge him some rent. Let him do it. Let these guys do it.'

'And we're seeing advancement now that I don't believe we would have ever seen had we done it the old-fashioned way,' Trump said on Fox.

Branson brought along five crewmates aboard who are part of his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company.

The group reached an altitude of about 53 miles above the New Mexico desert - enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth - and then safely glided to a runway landing.

'The whole thing, it was just magical,' a jubilant Branson said after the trip home aboard the gleaming white space plane, named Unity.

The brief, up-and-down flight - the rocket ship's portion took only about 15 minutes, or about as long as Alan Shepard's first U.S. spaceflight in 1961 - was an splashy and unabashedly commercial plug for Virgin Galactic, which plans to start taking paying customers on joyrides next year.

Branson became the first person to blast off in his own spaceship, beating Bezos by nine days. He also became only the second septuagenarian to go into space. Astronaut John Glenn flew on the shuttle at age 77 in 1998.

Bezos sent his congratulations, adding: 'Can´t wait to join the club!' - though he also took to Twitter earlier in the week to enumerate the ways in which be believes his company´s rides will be better.


Virgin Galactic founder Branson and five other crew members took off from Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico on Sunday, July 11. He beat Bezos to space by nine days

Virgin Galactic founder Branson and five other crew members took off from Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico on Sunday, July 11. He beat Bezos to space by nine days

With about 500 people watching, including Branson's family, a twin-fuselage aircraft with Unity attached underneath took off in the first stage of the flight. Unity then detached from the mother ship at an altitude of about 8 1/2 miles and fired its engine, reaching more than Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound, as it pierced the edge of space.

Spectators cheered, jumped into the air and embraced as the rocket plane touched down. Branson pumped his fists as he stepped out onto the runway and ran toward his family, bear-hugging his wife and children and scooping up his three grandchildren in his arms.

'That was an amazing accomplishment,' former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, a one-time commander of the International Space Station, said from the sidelines. 'I´m just so delighted at what this open door is going to lead to now. It´s a great moment.'

Virgin Galactic conducted three previous test flights into space with crews of just two or three.

The flamboyant, London-born founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways wasn´t supposed to fly until later this summer. But he assigned himself to an earlier flight after Bezos announced plans to ride his own rocket into space from Texas on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Branson denied he was trying to outdo Bezos.

Branson´s other chief rival in the space-tourism race among the world´s richest men, SpaceX´s Elon Musk, came to New Mexico to witness the flight, wishing Branson via Twitter, 'Godspeed!'

Bezos´ Blue Origin company intends to send tourists past the so-called Karman line 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth, which is is recognized by international aviation and aerospace federations as the threshold of space.

But NASA, the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and some astrophysicists consider the boundary between the atmosphere and space to begin 50 miles (80 kilometers) up.

The risks to Branson and his crew were underscored in 2007, when a rocket motor test in California´s Mojave Desert left three workers dead, and in 2014, when a Virgin Galactic rocket plane broke apart during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.

Ever the showman, Branson insisted on a global livestream of the Sunday morning flight and invited celebrities and former space station astronauts to the company´s Spaceport America base in New Mexico.

R&B singer Khalid performed his new single 'New Normal' - a nod to the dawning of space tourism - while CBS 'Late Show' host Stephen Colbert served as master of ceremonies.

Before climbing aboard, Branson, who has kite-surfed the English Channel and attempted to circle the world in a hot-air balloon, signed the astronaut log book and wisecracked: 'The name´s Branson. Sir Richard Branson. Astronaut Double-oh-one. License to thrill.'

Upon his return to Earth, he announced a sweepstakes drawing for two seats on a Virgin Galactic jaunt once tourist flights begin.

Virgin Galactic already has more than 600 reservations from would-be space tourists, with tickets initially costing $250,000 apiece. Blue Origin is waiting for Bezos´ flight before announcing its ticket prices.

Kerianne Flynn, who signed up in 2011 to fly with Virgin Galactic, had butterflies ahead of the launch Sunday.

'I think there´s going to be nothing like going up there and looking back down on the Earth, which is what I think I´m most excited about,' she said. She added: 'Hopefully the next generations will be able to explore what´s up there.'

Musk´s SpaceX, which is already launching astronauts to the space station for NASA and building moon and Mars ships, plans to take tourists on more than just brief, up-and-down trips. They will instead go into orbit around the Earth for days, with seats costing well into the millions. The company's first private flight is set for September.

Musk himself has not committed to going into space anytime soon.

Branson is greeted by school children before heading to board the rocket plane that will fly him to the edge of space from Spaceport America on Sunday

Branson is greeted by school children before heading to board the rocket plane that will fly him to the edge of space from Spaceport America on Sunday

Branson waves good bye while heading to board the rocket plane that flew him to space

Branson waves good bye while heading to board the rocket plane that flew him to space

'I made it possible for them to do this': Trump takes credit for billionaires' space race because he 'revived NASA and created vital Space Force' 'I made it possible for them to do this': Trump takes credit for billionaires' space race because he 'revived NASA and created vital Space Force' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:57 Rating: 5

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