The race to space has begun…
Swashbuckling entrepreneur Richard Branson hurtled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship on Sunday,
The London-born billionaire joined five company employees for the test flight which took off from New Mexico’s southern desert at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Branson is known as the king of spectacle, so it’s not surprising that he documented the journey and broadcast the launch live online while posting several videos on his social media feeds. The live feed itself was co-hosted by Stephen Colbert and as the crew made their way back down to Earth, Grammy-nominated singer Khalid treated the astronauts to his new song "New Normal."
It’s the company’s fourth trip to the edge of space. The first successful launch took place in 2018, following two disastrous failures. The first took place in 2007 when a rocket motor test in California’s Mojave Desert left three workers dead and three more injured. Then in 2014, the rocket plane Enterprise — named after the Star Trek ship — broke apart during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.
"The whole thing, it was just magical," Branson said after the trip home aboard the space plane, named Unity.
Branson became the first person to blast off in his own spaceship, beating fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos by nine days. He also became the second oldest person to go into space at age 70. Astronaut John Glenn flew on the shuttle at age 77 in 1998.