Do You Know 80s Kid Who Inspired Virgin Galactic? Branson Asks For Help Ahead Of First Spaceflight

by Elizabeth Howell on April 10, 2014

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As Virgin Galactic aims for a spaceflight this year, founder Richard Branson is asking the public to help track down the kid (now an adult) who prompted him to start the company 26 years ago.

Above you can see a Virgin video showing an 1988 clip from an old BBC show called “Going Live!” Branson answered a question from a young fan, Shihan Musafer, asking if he’d go to space. Of course, you all know what his answer was.

“After that call, I set about registering the name Virgin Galactic,” Branson wrote in a blog post. “We’d love to track down Shihan to say a personal thank you for helping to inspire the idea with that phone call. We want to offer Shihan the chance to join Virgin Galactic as a VIP guest to witness a spaceflight.”

If you have any information, Branson encourages you to tweet @richardbranson and @virgingalactic with the hashtag #shihanmusafer. (Early results on Twitter show a lot of retweets and few ideas of how to find him.) Meanwhile, his company has been busy putting SpaceShipTwo through its paces, making powered test flights — such as this one you can see from January.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Sir Richard Branson pose for photographer on the balcony of the new Spaceport Hangar, Monday October 17, 2011 near Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was part of a dedication and christening of the hangar to Virgin Galactic. Credit: Mark Greenberg

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Sir Richard Branson pose for photographer on the balcony of the new Spaceport Hangar, Monday October 17, 2011 near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It was part of a dedication and christening of the hangar to Virgin Galactic. Credit: Mark Greenberg

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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