Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur known for his philanthropic projects and his taste for adventure. He is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., a conglomerate of separately run companies which include radio stations, airlines, and mobile phones. The Virgin Group now owns around 200 companies in over 30 countries. Virgin also plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years in a venture called Virgin Galactic.
Branson was born in 1950 in Surrey, England, and was educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine, Student, at the age of 16. He is married with two children and lives in London and Oxfordshire.
Richard Branson: Well Steven Hawking believes that one day mankind on earth will be destroyed. It could be millions of years. It could be tomorrow. And he said it will either be an asteroid, it could be an experiment that goes wrong which creates disease that wipes out mankind. Whatever. For whatever reason.
So he believes that we should at least populate another planet. And as part of that beginning of that potential dream of his, I mean not a very nice dream the first part, but the second part, Virgin Galactic Airways will be born over the next year or two.
And the initial stage will be to send people in a – almost completely environmentally friendly way by the way, but I’ll talk about that in a minute – into sub orbital space travel. And then from there we will go into orbital space travel. From there we’ll build hotels in space.
Man’s natural instinct is to keep trying to improve themselves. Our engineers will keep pushing themselves. They're already looking at seeing whether we can’t go from New York to Australia in half an hour by hopping a spaceship out of the earth’s atmosphere and then straight back down again.
And I think that maybe in my lifetime we might achieve that; but definitely I think in my son’s lifetime. And so then we’re looking at giant sailing ships that can be powered by solo that can go off into future galaxies and see what’s going on out there. Anyway, exciting, exciting things to dream about.
Recorded on: July 5, 2007