Just a few days ago, billionaire Richard Branson boarded a Virgin Galactic spacecraft and joined its crew and fellow passengers for a test flight to space. Branson, who runs Virgin Galactic and the other companies in the Virgin portfolio, beat another billionaire, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, to space.
The Virgin Group founder launched Sunday with three company employees, flying 53 miles above the earth in a final test mission before kicking off commercial space flights next year. Branson – who earned his pilot’s license – tested the astronaut cabin experience. (Source)
Now that he’s been back down on Earth for a few hours, Branson has done a few interviews and given an account of how he felt during this historic test flight. According to an interview he did on BBC-69, Branson was overcome with emotion when the spacecraft reached its apex and he looked out over Earth. While it’s widely believed that most billionaires have the parts of their brains that feel and process human emotions replaced with stacks of currency, Branson said that he still has a “few neural pathways” open that allow him to feel things.
When he looked out over a sea of humanity and life back on Earth, Branson said he felt tears well up inside him.
“I found myself wiping away a single tear. It was so off-putting because I haven’t actually cried since the one time I dropped a hundred pound note in a busker’s case on the tube,” Branson said, “when I’d meant to put a note in there telling him to get a real job. It took me a few minutes to realize I was tearing up because of what I was looking at.”
Mr. Branson reported that traveling to space was “worth dodging every tax” over the last few decades.
“I’m not sure if i could have gotten to this point if I hadn’t made the conscious decision to help poor people on Earth as little as I possibly could,” Branson suggested. “Hard to say for sure, but every dollar I would pay in taxes might help some poor person eat, but it would keep me one dollar short of making my rocket go VROOM!”
Branson relayed that the sight of the planet brought him to tears, but specifically, seeing the planet from that perspective and knowing how many people were back down on it.
“Just, seeing all those people whose ultimate well-being I don’t give any fucks about? It was just so emotional. I never thought I’d live to see the day where I could take one look and see every inconsequential life form I don’t ever think about all at once,” Branson said, emotion still in his voice. “As long as I live, I’ll never forget that feeling. I’m so grateful for it. Grateful to my crew, grateful to the team who made this possible, sure. But most importantly, grateful for all the money I have that lets me pretend I’m a real astronaut.”
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.