Richard Branson on his suborbital flight: ‘I was nervous stiff’

In the end, it was Sir Richard Branson who got to ride his phallic vessel to Upper Sky and “win” the Billionaire Space Race. Once Jeff Bezos announced his intended takeoff date of July 20, Sir Richard Branson, who’d been working on Virgin Galactic, said they were doing everything in their power to rocket into orbit first. He’d hoped for something around the 4th of July weekend, which holds no significance for a Brit like him, but I am sure had some kind of “sticking it to the Americans” vibe to it. Those plans were dashed, and Jeffy B was once again the frontrunner for going really high to space. But Sir Dick pulled a proverbial rabbit out of his hat and last Sunday, he and five others launched themselves 62 miles above sea level. Stephen Colbert hosted the livestream of the flight. When Colbert asked Sir Dick about the experience, Branson admitted he was “nervous stiff.” But that was about throwing up on film, not for the how his ostentatious show of wealth would be portrayed to a world still dying from COVID. Yahoo gives us more.

Richard Branson stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Tuesday to talk about all things space travel. This comes after he boarded Virgin Galactic’s Unity rocket ship with five other people and became the first billionaire to reach the edge of space with a suborbital flight on Sunday. And it turns out that after nearly 17 years of working toward his dream of space travel, one of his biggest fears was something any of us — billionaire or not — can understand.

When Colbert, who hosted the livestream for Virgin Galactic’s trip to space, asked about the potential of becoming nauseous, which can happen when people experience zero gravity for the first time, Branson was honest with his answer.

“I was nervous stiff,” he said. “I mean, you got the world filming, and just imagine throwing up all over a spaceship.”

Branson, whose Virgin Galactic company is selling tickets to space tourists, laughed about the admission while Colbert pointed out the obvious by adding, “Not the best advertisement for your product.”

[From Yahoo!]

Branson received a “hero’s welcome” in New York upon his return. I recognize the technological achievement this was and there are probably a whole host of engineers, designers, analysts, and others who deserve to be recognized for their work on these machines. But these rich guys traveling in them just had the time and money. Again, it wasn’t space travel training, it was don’t throw up on camera training. I have yet to hear a good reason for missions. “Making space accessible” doesn’t work because “normal people” won’t be able to afford them.

Elon Musk shamed people poking fun at Branson:

I just watched Summer of Soul about the Harlem Cultural Festival, which I highly recommend. The festival took place during July 1969 and overlapped with the Moon Walk. The producers used interviews of those attending with their thoughts on the historic moon landing. They do a much better job of explaining why walking on the moon or flying to upper sky is only “hope” for those who have what they need on earth. I am not saying it is the billionaires’ responsibility to solve our issues, although I’ll hold them environmentally accountable for these flights. But Branson, Musk and Bezos can stop telling themselves they are our modern-day prophets. We aren’t looking to them for hope because they’ve already proven that when they chips are down, they find ways to profit off us. So, if we want to make fun of puking rich guys shooting into the sky in a penis, admitting they were “nervous stiff,” just let us have our fun.

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Photo credit: Instagram and Backgrid

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32 Responses to “Richard Branson on his suborbital flight: ‘I was nervous stiff’”

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  1. Aidevee says:

    Hmm, I had been wondering what had been going through Richards mind as he sat in his gas-guzzling space willy, gazing back down at the Earth where fire tornadoes are raging through North America, millions of people are dying of covid, billions are living in abject poverty and flash floods are engulfing Europe.

    You do you, Sir Richard.

  2. Mac says:

    Elon Musk represents the privatizing of public assets. Bezos and Branson are hobbyists.

  3. Mina_Esq says:

    I’m kind of excited. I hope that space travel becomes affordable in my lifetime, so I can take a selfie with our planet one day…provided we don’t destroy it by then. Out of the 3, I dislike Sir Richard the least. Colonizer Elon and Dr. Evil Jeff are tied in awfulness in my mind. Richard wants to make money while having fun, sure. And how American of him to refuse to pay taxes to the British :)

  4. Becks1 says:

    I just….I don’t know. Like @MinaEsq said above, I like to think that maybe i’ll be able to travel into space before I die. (although it looked like hell to me, but I like a good selfie, LOL. I wont even go on Mission Space at Epcot.)

    But this just leaves such a bad taste in my mouth…..billionaires fighting to be the first into space so that they can say they were the first into space, and so that an already exclusive club becomes more exclusive, and all while people are dying in a global pandemic.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      It’s a no for me. So many beautiful, exotic places right here on Earth that I will never get to see, especially while I’m trying to protect my unable-yet-to-vaccinate young children.

      These guys are like “I’m bored with cake on Earth. Let’s go eat space cake.” F them all.

  5. Heat says:

    I find this a disgusting display of wealth, and quite tone-deaf, given the state of the world right now.
    Both Branson and Bezos are known philanthropists, which is very nice…but I also know that charitable donations are wonderful tax write-off’s, especially when you set up the charities in YOUR OWN NAME, and don’t donate to any pre-existing charities. I give major side-eye to both of them. And Elon Musk…I have one comment; he’s a tool.

  6. Willow says:

    Are they trying to make sure they get a spot in the history books? Don’t want their names forgotten? If the planet isn’t here because they wasted billions on space flights there will be no one left to remember them. This is why wealth in the hands of only a few is dangerous.

  7. Darla says:

    I don’t even like flying to the west coast, there’s no way I’m going to space. Anyway, I can’t stand any of these guys. I loathe them. I hold them in such deep contempt.

  8. MsIam says:

    Bucket list for billionaires. That’s all I got.

  9. Elo says:

    This is disgusting. You don’t get this rich without exploitation.

  10. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I was watching it and found it super cringey when Colbert, who was a cheezy host of this, said we will be telling our grandkids where we were when this happened.

    Err, no we won’t?
    This REALLY isn’t on par with the moon landing.

    It was great for Branson but practically irrelevant for anything else. Quite a few people, even civilians, have gone further in space then him (he didn’t even go to space by all definitions of it, the US definition is lower than the general one).

  11. equality says:

    There is a reason real astronauts are required to be physically fit and undergo long term training for space flights. I wonder if he carried along serious help if somebody had a bad bout of space adaptation syndrome, which can be worse than simply vomiting.

  12. Ariel says:

    Eat the rich.
    People are dying from covid, from poverty, from heat made worse by billionaires buying politicians to pretend there is not global warming.
    Charge and convict billionaires of these deaths.
    Redistribute their wealth. It is obscene.
    They are evil.

    • LL says:

      An entire town in my area literally burned down a couple of weeks ago after breaking heat records for the entire country 3 days in a row. My province is burning because of what these billionaires have done (and haven’t done) and now we have to watch them throw money at a dick measuring contest. The whole thing is absurd.

  13. Keekey says:

    Kind of disappointed in Colbert for hosting this ego-stroking billionaire nonsense, tbh.

  14. TabithaD says:

    I suppose if people with more money than sense are prepared to spend £100,000’s to join the queue on Everest, then people may be prepared to spend similar amounts for trips like this. But why? Just for jollies? Is it advancing science at all?
    And it’s only a matter of time before one of these trips goes catastrophically wrong. What then?

    • LL says:

      Mostly for jollies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are trying to find ways to mine the moon and anything else they come across. I do not trust these men.

  15. Betsy says:

    Taxpayers spent $200 million dollars to build the place where Branson launched. Just a little FYI about the billionaires and their expensive, pointless hobbies.

    Eat the rich.

    • lucy2 says:

      Yup – they stay rich by having the rest of the population subsidize their every move.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I don’t know if you guys have been keeping up with Bezos and what he is doing in Texas, but his space station is destroying the area and they are endangering the wildlife and destroying the entire ecosystem there. I hope Bezos chokes on something and has a painful life afterwards. Bezos is the epitome of clueless to the environment!

  16. La says:

    I watched the live broadcast and was getting so irritated at the hosts saying that they are astronauts–right next to a guy who flew multiple missions on the space shuttle. It felt like it diminishes the achievements of those who trained for years to actually undergo a mission in space. The rich people on Sunday’s flight were space tourists. Nothing wrong with that but call it what it is.

    I watched because I wanted to see the technology but the whole thing put such a bad taste in my mouth because it was just a big marketing ad for an experience almost none of us will be able to afford.

    • lucy2 says:

      Exactly – actual astronauts spend a lifetime training, dedicating themselves to the science of it all. You don’t get to be lumped in with them if all you do is toss cash at it.

      I watch the video of a few days later, it was interesting to see, and probably a cool experience, but I don’t k now how anyone in good conscience could justify the money on this when there’s so much need elsewhere.
      And Elon can f right off with that “attacking space” nonsense. I’m all for NASA, technology, and exploration, but this is just ego and bragging rights.

  17. Red Dog says:

    The Falcon Heavy video still gives me those “I can’t believe they pulled this off, this is awesome and inspiring” feels.

    And yet the Virgin flight…nope. Nothing. Nada. Especially right now. I can’t feel inspired by science that amounts to a joyride for the rich in the middle of a pandemic, while the world is steadily approaching a boiling point.

    I dunno how differently I’d feel about watching those two rockets land if it happened tomorrow, but the bigger picture is more palatable when you take into consideration that Tesla is as big a name as SpaceX. We have doomsday seedbanks. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have a doomsday ark on another planet if it all goes to shit and someone worse than Trump gets the nuclear codes. I just wish Musk would spend less time getting high, talking shit and generally being a COVIDiot.

    • Betsy says:

      Elon Musk gives me the heeby jeebies. Instead of farting off about nonsense in space, these wealthy lunatics could be doing good, right here on old terra firma. But they’re not, they’re just out there stroking their egos at our expense.

  18. Ann says:

    I’m pleased as punch that the overwhelming opinion about the billionaire space race is negative. Most people see this for what it is, a stupid expensive dick measuring contest, and they don’t like it. F Branson. F Bezos. F Musk. F all the billionaires. The world doesn’t need a handful of people hovering in the atmosphere, we need to not all burn/drown/choke to death right fucking now!

    • Oopygoopy says:

      We are in a major extinction event rn and past the tipping point of co2- 400ppm- we are at 418ppm and going up. This is insanity and these men have no conscience at all doing what theyre doing, just dumping insane amounts of co2 and worse for a little thrill. They could just go in a zero gravity chamber here on earth ffs, def expensive enough but just not exclusive enough for these douchebags. Eat the rich

    • Betsy says:

      +1 to you and Oopygoopy.

      There is SO MUCH we could be doing right now to fix things; pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for the sake of making themselves feel cool is not one of them.

      Why don’t these fckers have a race to see who can successfully sequester the most carbon? Is it trees or is it grassland that would win? Improve the infrastructure for the most people – I feel like there are about a hundred thousand acres of rural land and reservations that could use clean water, WiFi access, American manufacturing jobs and the like. Why don’t they have a race to see who can create the most biodiversity in soil?

      This is just dumb, dumb, dumb and wasteful to boot.

  19. Sam the Pink says:

    Friendly reminder: Bezos, Musk and Branson have enough wealth between them that they could fund every single clinical trial going on in this country right now, and all those to come for decades, and still all be billionaires.

  20. Marie says:

    FU, Richard, pay your taxes!

  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Hey, as much as I can’t stand this man, this type of thing has to happen. Some rich douche has to initiate a movement. Of course only the rich will partake, but that’s always been the case. Forget him. Forget the rich. Simply look at non astronauts orbiting our planet paving a way for orbital hotels, restaurants and cruises. It’s damn exciting.

  22. Marigold says:

    So gross