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Richard Branson: “Why not put a hotel in space?”
The Virgin pioneer is confident he’ll prove the critics wrong and make his space dreams a reality.
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, says his space venture will succeed despite the sceptics. “We have nearly 250 engineers beavering away on our spaceship company. They will succeed despite the sceptics, and that will be sooner rather than later,” he told Management.
“We’ll have satellites in space in 18 months. That will mean the three billion people around the world without mobile phone or internet access will be able to get it for a tiny price. And once they’ve done that, we’ll build a spaceship to look like an aeroplane with the idea of orbital point-to-point travel, which means it will fly at 18 500 miles an hour,” he adds.
Branson has previously spoken of his plan to fly with his children on the inaugural flight of his long-planned commercial space operation, Virgin Galactic, an American-based spaceflight company within the Virgin Group.
Branson also suggested he won’t just stop at space travel and has visions of building a Virgin empire outside planet earth. “Why not have a hotel in space? How fantastic would it be to go and spend a week in a space hotel. I’m not sure how many of these things we’ll pull off in my lifetime, or my kids’, but we’ll see. We’ve got lots of people hungry to try it. You’ve got to dream big. By talking ahead of yourself you pull everybody along.”
Branson was speaking at the final of Pitch to Rich, a competition aiming to find Britain’s next business leader.
“A tiny amount of money can build an empire,’ Branson said. ‘My mum gave me £300. I used that money to pay for the paper costs and the printing of making my magazine and to get my dad’s permission to leave school at 15. I suspect a few thousand pounds is roughly the equivalent of that today. You can start a business without funding. I’ve managed to keep my independence all these years by owning 100% of the shares. I had to come up with imaginative ways with each of my businesses in getting the money upfront. It’s something entrepreneurs should think hard about,” concludes Branson.