Richard Branson discusses phone call from Buzz Aldrin
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The 70-year-old was blasted up 53 miles to the edge of space last week on board his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. Sir Richard returned safely to Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert just over an hour later, dubbing the trip the “experience of a lifetime”. But he has received criticism on social media, with many questioning whether there is a need for commercial spaceflight and the damage it causes to the environment.
Appearing on ‘The Late Show’ with Stephen Colbert, the host asked what Sir Richard would like to say in response to the “pushback” from woke campaigners who would rather see problems including inequality, racism and global warming solved on Earth.
Sir Richard blasted them as “not fully educated” on the benefits of space.
He added that people “wouldn’t be listening to this program most likely if it wasn’t for space” and highlights the useful benefits such as help monitor “things like climate change.”
He explains: “Space is, I mean every single spaceship we sent, whether it’s Virgin Orbit which we launched a week before into orbit, putting satellites up there and monitoring different things around the world, like the degradation of rainforests or monitoring food distribution or monitoring things like climate change and so on.
“These things are essential back here on Earth, so we need more spaceships going up to space, we don’t need less.”
Sir Richard hopes to one day offer space tourism to paying customers.
And this morning he appeared on Lorraine to defend his intentions once more.
He said: “There’s nothing else out there like Earth.
“We live on something with beautiful unique species that need to be protected. We need to get out and do our bit.”
Host Lorraine replied: “NASA always has this criticism of going into space.”
Sir Richard went on to note that his other company, Virgin Orbit, is helping millions connect and how he is helping the scientific community.
He said: “We’ve had scientists up doing tests.
“Virgin Galactic goes to a place in the air that balloons can’t reach.
“Scientists are really excited they can do experiments and be in space when they do it.”
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And although his company’s development puts him on a path to compete with the likes of Mr Musk and Mr Bezos, he finished his interview by stating he wishes both of them all the best.
He continued: “Elon was a real gent turning up and coming with his child to wish us well and watch the flight.
“Jeff I wish him all the best in a week’s time.
“Jeff’s programme, Elon’s programme and our programme will make a difference.
“I haven’t liked the ‘old billionaire’ thing. I think what we are doing is creating things we can be proud of, make a difference and pay the bills at the end.”
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