Modern geniuses: the eternal teenager Richard Branson

Virgin Orbit launched a rocket into space from an airplane

Billionaire Richard Branson attends the launch of Virgin Galactic's space travel clothing collection. In a special jumpsuit, he, along with other models, took part in a show in zero gravity.

Virgin Galactic said the collection was the first to be specially designed by "private astronauts." It was made in collaboration with the American sportswear manufacturer Under Armor. The development also involved doctors, cosmonaut instructors, pilots and engineers.

A spacesuit, safety shoes, a training suit and a special jacket, which will be produced in a limited edition, are available to buyers. At the same time, the company promised that an individual set will be sewn for each space tourist. The costumes will be decorated with the flags of the country, the citizens of which are tourists, and on their inner side there will be a transparent pocket "for photographs of loved ones who will literally be close to their hearts."

Branson himself said during the presentation that he always liked the clothes of astronauts. “I especially love the fact that putting on this suit makes me feel like I'm going to go into space soon,” he explained. He called the show an exhilarating event.

Earlier in September, Branson's company unveiled a new spaceport called Spaceport America in New Mexico. According to the creators' plan, WhiteKnightTwo should start from it into space.

Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004. The company is working on a commercial launch project scheduled for 2020. Suborbital tickets have already been sold to hundreds of customers. Two test flights were conducted with the Virgin Galactic crew.

Virgin Galactic claims that their customers will be able to reach space at a distance of 82 km from Earth. According to NASA, outer space starts at around 122 km. According to the calculations of the International Aeronautical Federation, it starts at about 100 km (Karman Line).

Virgin Galactic founder showed suit for space tourists

Today, countries and companies, big and small, are looking for a place in the suborbital race, and many analysts think this is a good thing. Privatized rockets and space stations will open orbital access to countries, businesses and even people. With sufficient financial resources, they can avoid the economic and political risks of developing their own space program and find their niche in the general flow - be it an orbital taxi, hotels on a space station, or safe cargo transportation.

Meanwhile, NASA is using its resources to get this process started. Its commercial crew-in-orbit initiative supports the space ambitions of Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada. These companies are slowly revealing their cards.

For the new space race, this decade could be what the late 90s and early 2000s became for the Internet: a time of uncertainty, seething creativity and ultimately economic reality. Dozens of companies are working in this direction. Let's take a quick look at the main initiatives in private space exploration.

X Prize and other competitions

Pilot Brian Binney celebrates SS1's victory in AnsariXPrize

Sometimes, to inspire innovation, you need to set bold goals and promise a bag of money. For example, the X Prize non-profit foundation has announced the Ansari X Prize for accessible space travel. The $ 10 million award spawned a $ 100 million commercial space exploration market.

Aerospace engineer Burt Rutan and his financial backer, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, won the 2004 prize for creating the first private team to “build and launch a spacecraft capable of transporting three people 100 kilometers above the Earth's surface twice For two weeks". Rutan subsequently helped Virgin Galactic develop its passenger space plane.

Examples of other competitions that inspire a new space industry include the Centennial Challenges, NASA's program that provides $ 200,000 to $ 2 million in support for companies in the agency's interests, and the Heinlein Prize, which honors science fiction writer Robert Heinlein and also a promoter of commercial space activities.

Meanwhile, the X Prize Foundation continues to drive breakthroughs in space and on Earth. The $ 30 million Google Lunar X Prize will go to "the first privately funded team to safely land a robot on the lunar surface, that robot will travel 500 meters across the lunar surface and send images and data to Earth." NASA will add $ 30 million to those robots that also meet key targets.

Bigelow Aerospace

You can live in space in this silver pumpkin

While the Henry Fords of the new space age are competing to create an affordable spacecraft, Robert Bigelow plans to build a place for passengers to rest in: a lightweight private space station.

Lightweight inflatable materials will allow you to bypass the space limitations of the rocket. NASA has been developing this idea for many years. What's more, the idea of ​​the Bigelow inflatable bungalow was taken from a patented idea by the TransHab agency, a resilient inflatable dwelling for possible use on Mars or the Moon.

Billionaire Richard Branson attends the launch of Virgin Galactic's space travel clothing collection. In a special jumpsuit, he, along with other models, took part in the show ...

After several unsuccessful attempts to launch a rocket into space from an aircraft, Virgin Orbit did not surrender and on January 17, 2021, it was still able not only to launch the LauncherOne rocket from an aircraft, but also to launch 10 small satellites for space exploration - kubsats. The satellites were provided by NASA's Launch Service Program mission specifically for this rocket. Thus, Virgin Orbit became one of the few in the world who launched a rocket into space in such a seemingly unusual way. How do you like this, Elon Musk?

This is Virgin Orbit's first successful aircraft rocket launch

Rocket launch from an airplane

Virgin Orbit did not put on a show from this event, as SpaceX usually does (and in vain), so there was no live broadcast of the rocket launch. On the other hand, the company's SMMs wrote quite emotionally on its Twitter about every stage of the flight - from the successful separation from the aircraft and starting the engines to entering orbit and launching satellites.

Heard that we covered 50 miles for the first time and are still in flight. Just wow! WELCOME TO SPACE, LAUNCHERONE!

The flight proceeded as follows. For the launch, a Boeing 747-400 aircraft was used, affectionately dubbed Cosmic Girl by Virgin Orbit. Only this is not an ordinary modification and not even a simple cargo one, but a specially created version of this aircraft for launching a rocket. Special mounts were installed under its wings to hold the rocket, which can release it at any time.

Cosmic Girl took off with a rocket under her wing

The plane took off from an airfield in the Mojave Desert and headed for the Pacific Ocean. Having flown 150 kilometers over the ocean in 1 hour and 7 minutes, the aircraft sharply raised its nose, banked to the right to raise the left wing, under which the LauncherOne rocket was fixed, and dropped it over the ocean. 3 seconds after the reset (not immediately, otherwise there is a risk of damaging the aircraft), the first stage engine was launched, and LauncherOne rushed into space.

Cosmic Girl Flight Plan and Rocket Drop Location

Having successfully dropped the rocket, the plane made a circle and headed back to the airfield. The launch could be seen even from a nearby beach.

Half an hour after that, the second stage left its target orbit, the engine of the upper stage (NewtonFour) shut down according to the plan and had to restart, with which difficulties arose. At the same time, a payload detachment command was given. The engine failed to start again, but the rocket nevertheless launched 10 cubesats into space.

LauncherOne Rocket Launch

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With the life and incredible adventures of Richard Branson, writers Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstrale illustrate their famous book "Funky Business", which deals with the role of talent and immediacy in the business world, in the implementation of the most innovative and successful projects ... The British billionaire, in this case, fits these principles better than anyone else.

Branson knows what it means to go against the rules, what it means to be yourself even with billions of dollars in your bank account, and how to enjoy life to the maximum, while being the head of a large international corporation with tens of thousands of employees. The businessman himself claims that he devotes only 40 percent of his time to business, and the remaining 60 is spent on entertainment.

Richard Branson is a unique example of how even expensive hobbies based on crazy childhood dreams can be turned into a large, innovative business, which is regularly written about by the best publications in the world.

Virgin Group

The backbone of Richard Branson's business is the Virgin Group, which began with the opening in 1970 of a record store in Notting Hill, England. Over time, one outlet has grown to become the world's largest record store chain. Success in this business gave Branson and his partners the funds to develop other endeavors.

The Virgin Group now consists of dozens of companies that record and sell music and videos, air travel, book and video games, telecommunications, media, rail, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, and many other types of business. But most of all, Richard Branson's selfless projects, aimed at studying the earth, underwater and outer space, are heard.

From the above, you can understand that Branson in business took on only those things that were interesting to him personally, which brought him pleasure. Each area of ​​his activity is, in fact, a fascinating hobby, which is pleasant and exciting to do.

But for the general public, Richard Branson is not only a businessman, but also a well-known media person who has tried himself in a huge number of activities. Below we will try to list how the extraordinary English billionaire will be remembered by descendants.

Virgin Racing Team

What kid doesn't dream of racing? This desire did not pass by Richard Branson. He himself was engaged in auto racing, but he did not achieve much success in this. Another thing is working as a manager in motor sports. Virgin first turned their attention to Formula 1 in 2009, sponsoring the newly formed Brawn GP team.

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