Sir Richard Branson just went to space, getting to test the customer experience first hand on the Virgin Galactic Unity 22 space flight. One of the world's richest and successful men in the field of transport, fitness, and finance, Branson has built quite an empire for himself with the "Virgin" brand name. Just how much is Sir Richard Branson's net worth?
Sir Richard Branson Aboard the Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Space Flight
Virgin Galactic launched its first fully crewed rocket-powered test flight on Sunday, July 11, in Spaceport America, New Mexico. The Unity 22 team is comprised of two pilots and four mission specialists. Beth Moses (chief astronaut instructor), Collin Bennett (lead operations engineer at Virgin Galactic), and Sirisha Bandla (vice-president of government affairs and research operations at Virgin Galactic) joined Branson on the flight.
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 https://t.co/Wyzj0nOBgX #Unity22 @virgingalactic pic.twitter.com/03EJmKiH8V— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
After the flight--which was live-streamed on the Virgin Galactic YouTube Channel--Branson was trying to grapple with words to describe the monumental experience and what it means for space travel for the future. He spent the time to thank the team, the mission specialists-now-astronauts, his wife and family, and everyone who spent 17 years with Virgin Galactic to make the dream of accessible space travel a reality.
Virgin Galactic even partnered with the charity organization Omaze for a chance to go to space. Every donation supports the charity "Space for Humanity" with a chance to win two seats onboard one of the first commercial space flights by Virgin Galactic. A guided tour of Spaceport America by Branson will also be included "and I promise lots of chocolate," he said, per The Verge.
Richard Branson Net Worth 2021
A son of a barrister and a flight attendant, Branson began his career with a mail-order record business about 50 years ago. In 1992, he sold Virgin Records for $1 billion. It was an upsetting parting, Forbes noted, with Branson running down London's Ladbroke Grove crying.
But the man continued on to build on the "Virgin" brand name to establish Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and Virgin Galactic. Alaska Air acquired the Virgin America airline in 2016.
Virgin Galactic started as a dream 17 years ago.
In October 2004, the Ansari X-Prize offered $10 million to anyone who could build a reusable spacecraft that can make two trips to space within 14 days, Forbes said. After beating 25 other teams, Mojave Aerospace Ventures licensed out its technology to Branson who founded Virgin Galactic to take that technology and build a larger spacecraft to operate commercial space trips.
The company suffered devastating losses like in 2007 after a rocket engine test killed three people and critically injured more. In 2014, the VSS Enterprise, the company's first spacecraft, was destroyed in a test flight that killed one of the pilots and hospitalized the other.
But in 2018, VSS Unity, the same spacecraft that took Branson and the three other crew members and two pilots to space, made its first successful journey.
Now, a culmination of all the hard work, tragedies, and perseverance has transformed the market for space travel. Pioneered by Branson and his company, it won't be long before regular folks can take a look outside the spacecraft window and see our great big planet from space.