Diehard optimist Branson pulls off incredible feat - GulfToday

Diehard optimist Branson pulls off incredible feat

Richard Branson

Richard Branson

By taking off for the edge of space, Richard Branson, the billionaire, bold, enterprising entrepreneur who treads the road less travelled always, has pulled off a feat few CEOs in his shoes would do.

He has put his money where his mouth is.

The five company crew who accompanied him on his historic trip in his Virgin Galactic plane included Indian American Sirisha Bandla, the vice president of government affairs at the company.

Branson is the daredevil persona who has been there, done that. He has traversed oceans in sailboats and hot-air balloons. He had to be pulled out five times from the seawaters by helicopter.

He even co-founded Virgin Records, much to the delight of music fans. Not many know that he sold records in the classified pages of a student magazine 50 years ago.

Branson is perhaps trying to upstage the other billionaire, Jeff Bezos, better known as the Amazon baron, who is scheduled to fly on July 20. However, the Virgin B denies it.

Branson, a week away from his 71st birthday, insists he and Bezos are friends and not rivals trying games of oneupmanship in space.

Ever the hardcore businessman, Branson certainly does not have charity on his mind when he undertook the flight to space. He plans to open the doors to, and amp up, space tourism.

And why not? Some of his clients have extremely deep pockets. Fares do not come cheap. Future passengers for the flight have to fork out a whopping quarter of a million dollars for a ticket. Thankfully, the whole trip went without a glitch. It was a risky venture. A rocket motor test in California saw three workers dead. In 2014, a Virgin Galactic rocket plane broke apart during a test flight, one pilot was killed and another seriously hurt.

Branson is the quintessential showman. He insisted on a global livestream of the event and invited stars from the entertainment industry and former astronauts to watch him.

The new feat puts him in the league of the bold and the diehard adventurer who is not daunted by challenges. He swam for two miles before he could be safe during a violent storm off the Mexican coast.

He even took part in a rescue flight into Baghdad before the Gulf War began.

That’s because Branson was not deterred by diehard pessimists; he has resilience aplenty. He did what he wanted. He reinvented his own rules because he knew the needs of the market like the back of his hand and capitalised on them. Like the English king Richard, who shares his first name, he too was lion-hearted, so to speak, and that’s what make him a cut above the rest.

A Virgin Galactic spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that Musk had bought a ticket for his own space ride. The newspaper said that it was not clear how far up the waiting list Musk is for a seat. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment, it stated. The spaceplane’s two pilots were Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci. The three other mission specialists were Beth Moses, the company’s chief astronaut instructor; Virgin Galactic’s lead operations engineer, Colin Bennett and Bandla.

It just goes to prove the age-old adage: fortune favours the brave. He has an incredible appetite for risks which is a trait very few have.

Clearly, Branson has an eye on the future. It remains to be seen how successful his new venture for space tourism turns out to be.

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