British billionaire Richard Branson strapped in and set off Sunday on his boldest adventure yet — a bid to reach space aboard his own winged rocket ship. A successful flight would vault the nearly 71-year-old Branson past fellow billionaire and rival Jeff Bezos, who is planning to fly to space in a craft of his own nine days from now. As Branson jetted off to space, he was bestowed good wishes on his flight by none other than Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk had a day before congratulated Branson on his feat on Twitter and had implied that he would be at the launch site in New Mexico to watch the Virgin Galactic flight jet out to outer space.
“Will see you there to wish you the best," Musk had tweeted out his support for Branson.
Will see you there to wish you the best— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2021
On Sunday, Musk, true to his word appeared standing alongside Branson in the former’s house. Branson tweeted, “Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready."
Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready. Watch #Unity22 launch and livestream TODAY at 7:30 am PT | 10:30 am ET | 3:30 pm BST.@virgingalactic @elonmusk https://t.co/1313b4RAKI pic.twitter.com/FRQqrQEbH8
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
Twitterati were excited to see the duo sharing a moment before Branson’s much coveted space flight.
Two legends together inspiring generations to dream! Have an amazing safe trip to space Richard! Perhaps an exciting future partnership to create hypersonic electric flight with Elon!— Steve (@MewesSteve) July 11, 2021
Possibly the 2 greatest men in the world. The leadership and strength of will are simply amazing. Thank you for bringing back space travel and exploration. May the stars be your guiding light and luck always be on your side. @richardbranson @elonmusk #savetheplanet #space https://t.co/bFf62zE9Ah— MissBe (@MissBehaving777) July 11, 2021
A massive carrier plane made a horizontal take-off from Space Port, New Mexico at around 8:40 am Mountain Time (1440 GMT) and will ascend for around an hour to an altitude of 50,000 feet (15 kilometers), before dropping the spaceplane beneath it.