Branson’s Autobiography Part II: A Bad Day at Koehn Lake

SpaceShipTwo breaks up after the premature deployment of its feather system. (Credit: MARS Scientific/NTSB)

Part 2 of 3

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography
Richard Branson
Portfolio
Oct. 10, 2017
482 pages

In his new book, Richard Branson recounts that on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014, he was on his private Caribbean island in a state of “schoolboy excitement.” The reason? Three time zones away in California’s Mojave Desert, Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites were conducting the longest and most ambitious flight test of the SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism vehicle.

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Branson to Entertain Virgin Galactic Ticket Holders on Necker Island

Richard Branson, GREY GOOSE creator and Maître de Chai François Thibault, and George Whitesides toast to a new partnership. (Credit: Grey Goose)
Richard Branson and GREY GOOSE creator and Maître de Chai François Thibault toast to a new partnership. (Credit: Grey Goose)

Two years ago, Richard Branson hosted two separate groups of Virgin Galactic ticket holders for one week stays at his exclusive Caribbean retreat on Necker Island. There were parties and water sports and fine dining and drinking and all sorts of other activities among luxurious accommodations in a stunning tropical setting.

With the exception of one miffed girlfriend who went home in a huff (the topic of another post), a fine time was had by all.  The ticket holders went home happy, and Branson collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues from them. The one great advantage of having a space plane whose flights are perpetually delayed is being able to cross-sell all of Virgin’s other properties and services to a group of wealthy individuals with money to burn.

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Latest Rumor du Virgin: Rihanna to Fly on SpaceShipTwo

Rihanna
Rihanna

Pop superstar Rihanna is reported to be the latest celebritynaut to sign up for a spaceflight aboard Sir Richard Branson’s SpaceShipTwo, according to a story published today.

The 25-year-old singer will reportedly plop down $750,000 for three tickets aboard Virgin Galactic’s suborbital space plane. She will be accompanied by her brother Rorrey, 23, and a bodyguard.

Meanwhile, the pop group New Direction will reportedly be the main attraction at a New Year’s Eve party that Branson is throwing at his Necker Island resort home. The party is to celebrate that Virgin Galactic hopes to begin SpaceShipTwo commercial service next year.

One of the band members, Harry Styles, is reported to be interested in flying aboard SpaceShipTwo. A recent press report indicated he had bit £150,000 to be on the first commercial flight with Branson and his family. However, that would be about $25,000 below the current asking $250,000 price for a normal ticket aboard the space plane.

Whitesides: Powered SpaceShipTwo Flights Coming “Very Soon”

George Whitesides
George Whitesides

Virgin Galactic is looking at powered flights into space by the end of this year with commercial ones with paying passengers in 2014, according to Virgin Galactic CEO and President George Whitesides.

The Virgin Galactic chief made the comments in a Q&A interview that was put out at the end of last month by XOJET, a private jet company that has established an exclusive private air Concierge Access service to serve Virgin Galactic’s exclusive group of nearly 600 future astronauts.

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