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Branson Outlines His Vision For Virgin Galactic, Video Interview

Telegraph interview still with Richard Branson (credit: Telegraph.co.uk)
Things are moving quickly for Virgin Galactic. The world’s first commercial space tourism company has gone from strength to strength since developing Scaled Composite’s X-Prize-winning space ship design into Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Now, as Virgin Galactic is well on its way to building the world’s first space port in the New Mexico desert, Richard Branson discusses his vision the company’s direction and very exciting future.

In a video interview by the Telegraph Online, Richard Branson shows why he’s best guy to be at the helm of Virgin Galactic: he has a vision. So far, the development of Virgin Galactic has been astonishing, but then again, having an international company as successful as Virgin supporting it, there is room for huge aspirations.

Among the first space tourists to fly Virgin Galactic will be Richard himself, his 90 year old parents and two kids. In successive flights, big names such as Stephen Hawking have been sent their £100,000 ($200,000) tickets. Hawking has already been taken up in a parabolic flight (the “vomit comet” as used for astronaut zero-gravity training), and according to Branson, Hawking passed with flying colors.

In his interview, Branson discusses his hopes for the future. In one plan he hopes Virgin will establish a space hotel where people can use as a base and take tours on automated spacecraft to the Moon and back. The additional possibility of using the SpaceShipTwo concept as a means to transport passengers around the globe is especially interesting. The flight from London to Sydney would only take 30 minutes for a vehicle traveling into a low-Earth orbit, and emissions from such a plan would be at a minimum (almost nil when compared with the current long-haul jet flights that burn tons of fuel).

Interestingly the Virgin boss briefly mentions colonization (but stops at where he was thinking about colonizing), citing the ever present threat of a global catastrophe as reason enough to live beyond the Earth. So, will the first commercial Mars colonial spaceships be red and branded “Virgin Galactic“? Watch this space…

Watch the full interview.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

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Hello! My name is Ian O'Neill and I've been writing for the Universe Today since December 2007. I am a solar physics doctor, but my space interests are wide-ranging. Since becoming a science writer I have been drawn to the more extreme astrophysics concepts (like black hole dynamics), high energy physics (getting excited about the LHC!) and general space colonization efforts. I am also heavily involved with the Mars Homestead project (run by the Mars Foundation), an international organization to advance our settlement concepts on Mars. I also run my own space physics blog: Astroengine.com, be sure to check it out!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Paul Smith January 22, 2008, 9:48 AM

    Unfortunately the guy can’t even run his trains properly, we need to put a stop to private companies trying exploiting space before its too late and lives are lost. Space travel should be under public control, not private.

  • tacitus January 22, 2008, 10:37 AM

    No, no! Space is a risky business, and lives will be lost no matter if its through private or public enterprise. There is no reason to stop private investors putting their money into space travel and exploration, the more the merrier I say. There is great incentive for private companies to make space travel as safe as possible (relatively speaking). It would only take a couple of disasters to put them out of business for good.

  • Dan Johnson January 22, 2008, 12:48 PM

    Many lives were lost when commercial aviation was in its infancy. The same goes for any other transportation invention. If space travel is kept under public control forever, we will never get anywhere. Governments job should be promoting space and providing the seed. Its job shouldn’t be actually doing the exploration, unless that exploration is actually stimulating future privatization.

  • Mikey Campbell January 22, 2008, 2:55 PM

    Since no space-faring nation has ratified the Moon Treaty we need to be planning on how to get a standing army up on the moon to protect America’s claim. It’ll be a galactic game of Risk!

  • tacitus January 22, 2008, 3:21 PM

    Ugh! I hope not. Practically speaking, though, I doubt that will be an issue any time soon.

  • David Cooper - Mars Society Australia January 22, 2008, 11:56 PM

    Sir Richard has a proven track record of success in business ventures, he is probably the most qualified person on this planet to help us leave it and visit the Moon, Mars and Beyond, and make a profit for himself and his partners in such a fantastic adventure.

    On to Mars!!!

  • lotusface January 22, 2008, 5:59 PM

    Read Piers Anthony’s “Bio of a space tyrant” series for some interesting ideas about space colonization.
    Space is where we are going, regretfully not many of us have the vision to imagine the reality.

  • Dregnaw January 23, 2008, 12:06 AM

    It is regretful that so many have a lack of inspiration for this future of ours. Those that say that the private sector should stay out of space exploration should look at the last 40 years and see where it has gotten us. Not far. It has only been the last 10 years and the inspiration of the public sector that has created a new buzz for space again.

    There will need to be a balance between government regulation and privitizing the exploration of space.

    I agree that for every form of transportation there were lots of lives lost. The Airplane, as stated above, the car – how many have lost there lives,and quite honestly still do of which we don’t say ya know we should all stop driving and let the government do it for us, — what about the railroad – how many people died buiding the rail system in order to connect the east to the west. – Even our own government felt it was extremely vital to build this to the cost of so many lives.

    I guess it is a matter of preceptions, but I believe Branson is going in the right direction, and that I finally am excited that there could be a chance in the next 15 years I could have a taste of this awesome experience before I die.

  • Chuck Lam January 23, 2008, 8:13 AM

    NO! NO! NO! Please no government or public control over Branson type space effort. Most of the good things we enjoy in life come from universities and people like Branson in the private sector. The government (NASA) would just gum things up with ego driven directives, etc., etc.. Concerning the loss of life connected to space travel, it is very unfortunate, but part of the cost of progress.

  • Denis Bunker January 23, 2008, 3:31 AM

    Governments are fine for sending scientists into space. If we’re ever going to exploit our solar system and send mankind out into the galaxy, then private enterprise must do it. Pioneers have always been and always will be, interested in exploitation of resources. Good luck to Richard Branson and everyone who contributes to us going there, because we just have to expand, or we will stagnate.

  • Joel January 23, 2008, 5:59 AM

    Not all great ideas ought be within the province of government.
    Space travel, exploration ought be a private endeavor.

  • McCorvic January 23, 2008, 9:11 AM

    Throwing my hat into the “private sector is important” ring. The public sector still has, and probably will, always be an important part of space exploration. No business or individual will conduct science experiments and probes just to learn something new.

    But the private sector is what will lead us to actually making use of all that science we learn.

  • Vladislaw January 24, 2008, 3:34 PM

    planes crash and hundreds die, we should ban planes. Cars crash and people die, we should ban cars. people fall down stairs and break their necks, we should ban stairs.

  • Chiya January 25, 2008, 2:55 PM

    Actually I’ve heard that the most deaths happen while the person is in bed. We should definitely ban beds.

    If people want to risk their necks going into space, then that’s their choice. (And if the price ever becomes reasonable I think I will too)

  • Dalip Khanna March 27, 2008, 4:35 AM

    I have been serving touism industry for the last 25 years and now I am eagerly interested in promting and marketing space tourism with the help of Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism company. I am from India and eagerly want to become the part of promoting and marketing space tourism

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