Entrepreneur Richard Branson, 70, made history when he flew to the edge of space in his Virgin Galactic space plane yesterday.
Speaking to the Daily Mail hours before his ride, which took off from New Mexico, the British businessman said he was taking photos of his family, and a small Pride flag.
“Somebody who lost a loved one at the Orlando massacre asked if I would do that. We also have many, many friends who are gay and I know people who lost friends there.”
In a video posted to Twitter, a rainbow ribbon was prominently fixed to his spacesuit. Branson said, “My mission statement is to turn the dream of space travel into a reality for my grandchildren, for your grandchildren, for everyone.” As he says, “for everyone”, there’s a close-up shot of the ribbon.
My mission statement is to turn the dream of space travel into a reality – for my grandchildren, for your grandchildren, for everyone.
Watch the launch of the next space age at 6 am PT | 9 am ET | 2 pm BST on https://t.co/1313b4RAKI @virgingalactic #Unity22 pic.twitter.com/JpqXx8cy04
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
Branson appeared on TV answering journalist questions after the flight and was wearing the rainbow ribbon on his suit. Livestream footage of the flight also showed him wearing it.
Related: The Pulse massacre is remembered in Orlando through memorials to 49 victims
It turns out the ribbon was created by Ben Johansen, founder of the Orlando Ribbon Project. He began the project after the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, in which 49 people (mainly LGBTQ), lost their lives. Since that time, the costume maker and business owner has made over 1.3 million rainbow ribbons to honor the LGBTQ lives lost to hate and homophobia. He has sent them out to people all over the world.
Yesterday, Johansen posted to his own Facebook.
“So now I can talk about it! Yes, Sir Richard Branson is wearing the Orlando Ribbon today and helping me achieve another goal of the Ribbon Project.
“When I announced that was my next goal, I didn’t think it would have much chance of happening. Then The Watermark did a story on the project and what my future plans for ribbons were.
“The article was read by a traveler from CA, and he read the story. (I’m not mentioned names until I get permission), but he reached out and said he might be able to help me get ribbons into space. He didn’t give many details as to not get my hopes up. (He reached out around 6 months or so ago).
“Well, I received a call from him this past Friday saying it might happen. He knows Sir Richard and talked with him personally. I sent an overnight package of ribbons to this person and from then it’s been a few weeks…..until Friday’s call.
“But today, it’s happening. The Orlando Ribbon Project has gotten ribbons to all 50 States, 65 Countries, Every Continent, and now, The 49 will be up with the stars. Thank you so much to Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic for helping The 49 be honored. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜”
This was followed a few hours later by a second post naming the man who had helped him.
“I owe a huge thank you to Chris Ian Garlington. He was the one who saw the story of me trying to get ribbons into space, and offered to help me get them to see the stars.
“So now I’ve gotten ribbons to all 50 States, 65 Countries, and all 7 Continents…….and now space! What’s next?”
Related: Virgin CEO Richard Branson Refuses To Do Business With Anti-Gay Uganda, Urges Boycott
Branson first announced he planned to take commercial passengers to space with the formation of Virgin Galactic back in 2004. However, developing the program has taken considerably longer than he planned, not to mention around $1billion in financing.
Others have also announced plans for commercial space flights. Most notably, Jeff Bezos of Amazon with his Blue Origin project and Elon Musk (of Tesla and SpaceX). On July 20, Bezos will also head to the edge of space in his own craft, New Shepard. The announcement of Bezos’ flight prompted Branson to bring his own planned trip forward.
The Virgin Galactic trip included Branson, three crewmates and two pilots. The brand is looking to begin offering 90-minute commercial flights next year.
The timing of the Virgin Galactic flight with Branson is rumored to have irked the Blue Origin team. Last week, it posted a tweet pointing out that its craft will go higher and offer bigger windows than Virgin Galactic. It points out that Blue Origin will fly above the Kármán line, an internationally recognized boundary to space 62miles (100km) in altitude.
Virgin Galactic’s space flight took place below that line, but at around 55 miles in altitude, was well above another boundary of space at 50 miles (80 km) recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, and the U.S. military.
Related: Winning design for Orlando’s Pulse Memorial and Museum announced
all these billionaires going to space- people are suffering here ON Earth- spend that money here. Give to the families of Pulse Survivors, the Trevor Project, etc.
And here I was hoping his “ship” would explode.
not cool to wish something that would cause someone harm.
This is just such an offensive exercise in self-indulgence, and a pride pin doesn’t make it ok. This little proof-of-concept is all about Branson’s ego, and about setting up a system for rich people to pay him a quarter of a million dollars to have a little thrill ride on his spaceship. It’s NOT about science, or human advancement, or technological innovation, or opening up space to the masses, or any of the other things his sycophants claim it’s about. The man has $6.9 billion dollars: he could spend it actually improving human lives or funding real scientists’ work, but no he chooses to spend it to launch his shiny white ass to the edge of space. Stop paying attention to his hobby.
I wish Branson and the other megabillionaires would commit real money to addressing climate change and numerous other problems on earth. (And that governments would tax them to do so.) The globe is broiling; a million+ bivalves and other sea creatures, mussels, clams, etc. cooked to death along the northwest coast during the heat wave a week or so ago. Glaciers are melting, the seas are rising, droughts are increasing, etc. For the cost of putting this vanity project in motion, we might have funded policies to address these current and ongoing crises.
Exactly thank you.
Heard a lot of Yanks commenting on this, so maybe he should buy every American a sandwich with the money he spent instead, or maybe America should spend less money on it’s army, or maybe all those weird churches should give their money out to help the poor and needy. His money, he earned it, so he chooses how he spends it, funny, I thought that was the American way?
You didn’t hear about the New American way? Our new motto is now “Send me more stimulus money, I like this getting paid for doing nothing and let the rich man pay for it all”. People are really going to be pissed when all the Uber wealthy are able to buy a home on Mars and leave all us non-achievers here on Earth to perish. The rich get rich off of us, so if you hate rich people, stop doing business with them. That of course means, turning off your computer and cell phone, quit buying their gasoline, etc…, which probably ain’t going to happen. Strange how most of us want to flaunt our fashion shoes or watch but hate the evil rich man who got rich from selling them to us. But of course, it’s not at all our fault.
Are you the ghost of Any Rand?
I’d just like for them to pay their fair share or do you think people like Dump, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, etc should get out of paying any taxes through financial manipulation or the Walton’s get subsidized by the taxpayers since they refuse to pay their employees enough?
If they’d just pay their fair share like everyone else then we’d have all the stuff we need and it wouldn’t mean taxing the middle class more.
He’d leave this world a better place if he’d invest and promote environmentalism so we have a future world. Or better transit and homeless issues in his homeland…or come to America and upgrade our transportation and non-existent high-speed rail. These are things that leave a lasting legacy and bettering mankind.
He already has an American competitor attempting to do most of that but we can’t seem to embrace it.
Well it’s his money…he earned it..he could have said no like many have and would….his action probably sold thousands of ribbons which will do good. Would you have preferred he not do this? This was going to happen anyway so the next guy seeing this pushback may just say forget it. Want to tackle those noble causes? Go make a billion dollars..nobody gave it to Branson.
While it is common for the right to refer to people like Branson as “self made”, that is seldom the case and is certainly not for Branson. He attended fancy boarding schools, and came from a family with imperialist roots in India. And as history clearly shows, the money in upper class British families was earned with the blood and lives of others, often people of color whom the British disdained.
That said, his understanding of the struggle of LGBT people, and latino people is worth acknowledging. And the importance of the advances in aeronautics this space flight represents are yet to be seen. The world does sometimes benefit from uber-wealthy people who still maintain some progressive ideals.
Yeah, nobody ever gave it to Trump either. Oh wait. Nevermind.
Oh, churches should definitely be taxed.
But I don’t know why anyone believes that people become “filthy” rich on some special merit, and not without exploiting someone or something.
The non-rich actually serve a purpose. Without us to exploit, they wouldn’t be rich.
However, I would never demand that anyone share or give me any of their money, but on the other hand, don’t try to appeal to me to risk my life and come out during a pandemic so you can sell me your crap and stay rich.
To that I say you can go f* yourself.
Trust me, rich people wouldn’t be rich or as rich if it were up to me. I’m still driving my 2004 Toyota and my Vista desktop still works and I don’t buy designer anything.
All I ask is they pay their fair share of taxes.
Is that too damned much to ask? Or are they more special than the rest of us?
How is it, I paid more in taxes than a fake billion orange POS or a real billionaire like Bezos?
That’s not a problem?
I think they use the same roads and government funded resources that I do.
So, yeah, f* the rich, most of them aren’t serving any particular purpose in society.
Comments are closed.