People in Space: Richard Branson29th Aug 2021
British billionaire Richard Branson is probably the person in our “People in Space” series that needs the least introduction. The serial entrepreneur started his business empire at a fairly young age by opening a music store in the UK. After the huge success of his music business, Branson was to eventually branch out into other sectors – the most well known of which was his transatlantic airline, Virgin Atlantic.
He expanded further by adding holidays to his business portfolio. And when people started to discuss the possibility of going on holiday to space, it didn’t take long for Sir Richard Branson to jump on the bandwagon.
In 2004, Branson founded Virgin Galactic as a space tourism project. It has now grown to over 800 employees and has three spacecrafts, achieving their first suborbital space flight in 2018 with two pilots on board.
In 2017, he launched Virgin Orbit, to launch satellites into orbit from a rocket (named Launcher One) attached to the wing of a modified Boeing 747. This had originally been a Virgin Galactic project but was created into its own entity in 2017.
Virgin Orbit’s first launch in May 2020 failed to reach orbit. However, the company placed its first successful payload into orbit in June 2021.
Branson also made history by being the first space company founder to go into space in his own spacecraft in July 2021.