Richard Branson’s daughter Holly has shared a photo diary of her father’s successful mission into space, admitting the experience left her ‘lost for words’.
The British entrepreneur and billionaire celebrated the incredible feat yesterday with his wife, children and grandchildren, who greeted him on the tarmac after his Virgin Galactic spacecraft returned from a flight through the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Having previously revealed she ‘hadn’t left her dad’s side for days’ in the run-up to blast off, yesterday Holly, 39, said she’d ‘never felt so many butterflies’ in her stomach as she witnessed Sir Richard fulfil his dream which was ‘more magical and emotional’ than she ever could have imagined.
Earlier that day she also shared a childhood photo of her with her father and brother Sam – which Sir Richard brought with him into space – alongside a selfie snapped on the road to Spaceport America in New Mexico from which the launch took place, captioned: ‘How it started vs. how it’s going.’
Richard Branson’s daughter Holly has shared a photo diary of her father’s successful mission into space, admitting the experience left her ‘lost for words’. Pictured while ‘counting down the minutes’ to blast off with Sir Richard Branson, his wife Joan Templeman and son Sam Branson
Writing on Instagram and sharing a photo of her father with his granddaughter Etta, pictured, she said: ‘Annnnndddd, breathe. What an emotional journey’
Holly said she’d ‘never felt so many butterflies’ in her stomach as she witnessed Sir Richard fulfil his dream which was ‘more magical and emotional’ than she ever could have imagined
Writing on Instagram and sharing a photo of her father with his granddaughter Etta, she said: ‘Annnnndddd, breathe. What an emotional journey.
‘I am truly lost for words and have never felt so many butterflies in my stomach. Such an incredible and moving moment to be a part of. Dad has dreamt about this day since he was a little kid, but said that going to space was more magical than he ever imagined.
‘It was more magical and emotional to watch than I could have ever imagined too. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this moment possible and everyone who has believed in @virgingalactic from day one. You’re all amazing. Welcome to the dawn of a new space age!’
Prior to take off, Holly shared a sweet family photo with her father, mother Joan Templeman and brother Sam, revealing they were ‘counting down the minutes’ until Sir Richard ‘made history’, using the hashtags #Astronaut001 – a nod to Sir Richard’s wisecrack as he signed the astronaut log book and climbed aboard: ‘The name’s Branson. Sir Richard Branson. Astronaut 001. License to thrill.’
Holly shared a childhood photo of her with her father and brother Sam – which Sir Richard brought with him into space
Along with the childhood snap, Holly posted a selfie snapped on the road to Spaceport America in New Mexico from which the launch took place, captioned: ‘How it started vs. how it’s going’
Holly shared a sweet photo of her and brother Sam, captioned: ‘A big spaceport cuddle from my amazing brother @bransonsam. So, so glad we can all be here as a family to witness Dad’s spaceflight!’
Holly, an executive at Virgin, also posted a number of videos, with one showing Sir Richard turning up at Spaceport America on a bicycle before being told he was ‘late’ by grinning colleagues.
Another showed Sir Richard while in space onboard the Unity, in footage streamed live online, during which he said: ‘To all you kids down there, I was once a child with a dream, looking up to the stars. Now I’m an adult in a spaceship, with lots of other wonderful adults looking down at our beautiful, beautiful Earth.
‘To the next generation of dreamers, if we can do this, just imagine what you can do.’
Holly captioned the clip: ‘This says it all.’ She also shared a sweet photo of her and brother Sam, captioned: ‘A big spaceport cuddle from my amazing brother @bransonsam. So, so glad we can all be here as a family to witness Dad’s spaceflight!’
Following Sir Richard’s safe return to Earth, Holly then revealed she watched England take on Italy in the final of the European Championships, writing: ‘I mean, what a day!
‘My dad has gone to space and now we are sitting in a spaceport watching England in the @euro2020 finals… Two statements that are rather unreal!’
Following Sir Richard’s safe return to Earth, Holly then revealed she watched England take on Italy in the final of the European Championships, writing: ‘I mean, what a day!’
Holly shared a photo of the spaceship parked at Spaceport America, visible through the window as she watched the England match
Holly is the eldest child of Sir Richard and his wife Joan. The University College London graduate worked as a junior doctor for Britain’s National Health Service before joining the Virgin Group in 2008.
Sir Richard is the first person to enter space in their own vessel, a feat he accomplished nine days before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plans to ride his own rocket ship – New Shepard – into space from Texas on July 20.
The business magnate sent his congratulations following the successful flight, writing: ‘Can’t wait to join the club!’
The brief, up-and-down flight was intended as a confidence-boosting plug for Virgin Galactic, which plans to start taking paying customers on joyrides next year.
Footage streamed live online showed the Virgin Galactic in the air at about 3.45pm UK time, and the aircraft had reached 40,000 feet by 4pm. The spacecraft was carried up into the atmosphere by its mothership before being released so it could power up to highs of 250,000ft.
Sir Richard and his crew of six Virgin Galactic employees reached speeds of Mach 3 on their way to the edge of space. After a short spell during which they experienced weightlessness, the craft then pointed downwards and made its way back to the ground, touching down around 4.40pm.
Holly previously revealed she ‘hadn’t left her dad’s side for days’ in the run-up to blast off – and daughter Etta was ‘doing the same’
On the return flight, Sir Richard hailed the ‘experience of a lifetime’ and the ‘hard, hard work’ that went into the flight.
Mike Moses, a top executive at Virgin Galactic, said the flight was ‘perfect’ aside from some issues with the transmission of images from inside the cabin. He added the spacecraft looked pristine upon its return.
‘That was an amazing accomplishment,’ former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, a one-time commander of the International Space Station, said. ‘I’m just so delighted at what this open door is going to lead to now. It’s a great moment.’
Michael Colglazier, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, added: ‘This is a landmark moment for Virgin Galactic. It’s a landmark moment for the new commercial space industry and it certainly is a landmark moment for our founder Richard Branson.’
He said the company’s work was dedicated to ‘opening up space to all’.
Astronaut Sir Richard Branson has inaugurated the dawn of the age of space tourism by becoming the first billionaire to make it into space after the 70-year-old Virgin Galactic founder took off on a flight to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere in the VSS Unity plane
Sir Richard Branson revealed the crew uniforms were deliberately designed to reflect his love of the Star Trek series. He is pictured with fellow crew members Dave Mackay, Colin Bennett, Beth Moses, Sirisha Bandla and pilot Michael Masucci
Sir Richard Branson was greeted by his wife, children and grandchildren when his Virgin Galactic spacecraft returned from a flight through the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere
In a statement posted after the flight, Sir Richard said ‘how you feel when you look when you look down on Earth is impossible to put into words, it’s just indescribable beauty. I can’t wait for you all to get up there.’
The businessman added: ‘Imagine a world where people of all ages and backgrounds, from anywhere, of any gender, of any ethnicity have equal access to space. They will in turn, inspire us all back here on Earth.
‘If you’ve ever had a dream, now is the time to make it come true. Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.’
Sir Richard also confirmed plans to ‘turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today’, while announcing an Omaze sweepstake for the chance to win two seats aboard one of the first commercial Virgin Galactic flights.
Richard Branson holds up photos that he brought with him into space, as he speaks after flying into space aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel, a voyage he described as the ‘experience of a lifetime’
He was not supposed to fly until later this summer, but he assigned himself to an earlier flight after Bezos announced plans to ride his own rocket ship into space from Texas on July 20. More than 600 people have already made reservations for a £180,000 ride into space with Virgin Galactic, founded in 2004.
The successful mission made Sir Richard the second oldest person to travel to space – after 77-year-old John Glenn in 1998.
Prior to take off he told the Times newspaper that the view alone will be worth the £1billion he has spent on the project, and added: ‘I think it’s one of the reasons that people want to become astronauts. They want to look back at this beautiful Earth.’