Monday, 6 Dec 2021

Richard Branson on ‘beauty’ of going to space after ‘beating’ Jeff Bezos

Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson has spoken for the first time of the "magical" view as he looked down from space.

The British billionaire successfully completed the world's first fully crewed flight into space on Sunday when the VSS Unity spacecraft took off from Spaceport America at around 3.30pm.

70-year-old Virgin founder Branson returned to the Spaceport America runway in New Mexico at about 4.40pm after the four-minute flight into orbit to secure his victory in the space race against Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

Unity successfully detached from its carrier aircraft and flew at Mach 3 before flying about 50 miles above the Earth's surface.

And now the tycoon has opened up on his "magical" experience.

In a blog on the Virgin website, Sir Richard wrote: "I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space. It was magical.

"I was honoured to test the incredible customer experience onboard Virgin Galactic’s spaceship VSS Unity as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists – and now astronauts.

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"How you feel when you look down on Earth is impossible to put into words, it’s just indescribable beauty. I can’t wait for you all to get up there."

He added: "I said a message to all children while I was in space: I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars. Now I'm an adult in a spaceship looking down to our beautiful Earth. To the next generation of dreamers: if we can do this, just imagine what you can do."

Sir Richard had admitted to being "a little bit nervous" ahead of the historic flight.

Celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga have already signed up for commercialised trips to space with whichever billionaire makes it there first.

The tycoon has invested 16 years and more than £1billion in order to make the trip to the edge of space, paving the way for the potentially lucrative space tourism industry.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is due to launch the Amazon founder and his team into space on July 20 – nine days after Branson's landmark journey.

Elon Musk's SpaceX, meanwhile, plans to launch an all-civilian crew into orbit in September, although the tech billionaire has reportedly already paid for a seat on a future Virgin voyage at an unspecified date.

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