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Richard Branson is training to become an astronaut

Branson says he has increased his fitness training by playing tennis four times a day.

BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEUR RICHARD Branson says he is training to become an astronaut and will take his first trip into space soon.

Branson says he has increased his fitness training by playing tennis four times a day.

“I’m going for astronaut training; I’m going for fitness training, centrifuge and other training so that my body will hopefully cope well when I go to space,” Branson told BBC Radio 4′s You and Yours programme.

“Instead of doing one set of tennis every morning and every evening I’m doing two sets, I’m going kiting and biking – doing whatever it takes to make me as fit as possible.”

The 67-year-old multi-millionaire has been investing in commercial space travel since 2004 when he founded space tourism company Virgin Galactic.

Branson, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are in a race to get fare-paying passengers into space but the space race is between Branson and Bezos, Branson believes.

“I think we’re both neck and neck as to who will put people into space first.”

”Ultimately, we have to do it safely. It’s more a race with ourselves to make sure we have the craft that is safe to put people up there,” Branson said.

The Virgin boss is also taking part in centrifuge training which recreates the pressures the human body experiences during spaceflight.

Earlier this year, Virgin Galactic completed a supersonic test flight of its SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship.

It was the first powered flight for the company’s new vehicle following the break-up of the previous craft high over the Californian desert.

The incident, in 2014, resulted in the death of one pilot and left the other seriously injured after a device to slow the craft’s descent prematurely deployed.

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Adam Daly

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