Branson Beats Bezos and Musk to Space and German Automakers Guilty in Collusion Scheme


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In the billionaires’ space race, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson, SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos have been vying to be the first to fly into space. Branson has won the impromptu contest, flying into suborbital space aboard the VSS Unity, as part of a test crew to validate Virgin Galactic’s commercial flight service before public operations. Bezos is scheduled to fly on a Blue Origin rocket on July 20, and although SpaceX has been flying astronauts to the International Space Station since 2020, Elon Musk will not make his first trip to space aboard a Falcon 9, but will be one of the first paying customers for Branson’s new service.

In a landmark ruling, the European commission has levied a substantial fine, over $1 billion, to three major German automakers over a scheme to collude in engineering development of selective catalytic reduction emissions systems for diesel engines. Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen were involved, although Daimler’s fine was waived because the firm came forward in the case. There are potentially serious legal implications for automotive and engineering design in general if the ruling becomes a precedent.

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