“I’ll pinch myself and I’ll pinch myself again” – Richard Branson on becoming an astronaut

In an interview to an American news show, billionaire founder of the Virgin group Richard Branson said, “At that moment we will have become astronauts, I will pinch myself and pinch myself again and again.”

Branson’s space company announced last week that it will attempt to launch a crewed test spaceflight on July 11. Branson will be joined by 5 other passengers on board VSS Unity, one of them being Indian born Sirisha Bandla.

In doing so, Branson will become the first billionaire in space, beating compatriot Jeff Bezos by 9 days. The Amazon founder has his own space odyssey planned for July 20, when he will launch to space alongside his brother onboard a rocket made by his space company Blue Origin.

In the recent interview, Branson downplayed any competition between him and Bezos, “I know nobody will believe me when I say it but honestly there’s isn’t” a competition.”

With Virgin Galactic set to debut its space tourism capabilities, over 700 people have already booked a ticket with the company.

On fulfilling his lifelong dream, Branson said, “I always envisioned as a kid that a spaceship should look like this. I just thought that that’s how you should fly to space.”

“It’s going to be quite a ride,” he concluded.


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