British business magnate Sir Richard Branson, who is all set to create history by being the first billionaire to jet off to outer space has a suprising Indian connection. The Virgin Group founder had revealed how he had some old but definitive connections to India through some of his ancestors. Branson’space flight has been a topic of hot conversations in India but there’s an added interest because of the billionaire’s part-Indian heritage.
Back in December 2019, Branson had opened up about his ties to India at a press event during the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s flight from Mumbai to London. He had told reporters that a DNA test had shown how some of his ancestors were of Indian descent and hailed from Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore and dating back to 1793.
Branson had revealed that his great, great, great grandmother Aria was an Indian and hailed from the southern state.
“I knew that I had past generations living in India, but haven’t realised how strong our connections were. So, it turned out that from 1793, we had four generations living here in Cuddalore and one of my great, great, great grandmothers was an Indian named Aria who was married to one of my great, great, great grandfathers," Branson had said.
“Every time I meet an Indian, I say we might be relatives,"Branson had said.
Branson’s craft will launch from the Spaceport America in New Mexico and the entire process will be live-streamed on Virgin Galactic’s Twitter feed starting at 06:30 PM according to Indian time. The entire journey is expected to last for about 90 minutes.
The spacraft will carry the Unity for about 15 kms or 50,000 feet where it will be released. After this, a rocket motor in the back of the vehicle will ignite and shoot it upwards. For a few minutes after this, Branson, his three crewmates and the two pilots will get a spectacular view of earth from above and also feel weightless.
The aircraft will return back to the base after touching an altitude that is expected to be slightly below the Kármán line- a line that separates Earth’s atmosphere from space. Kármán line is 100 km above the Earth’s mean sea level.