Science & Tech

Richard Branson hits back against accusation space mission was ‘misuse of resources’

<p>Richard Branson says that critics “are not fully educated” on the benefits of space</p>

Richard Branson says that critics “are not fully educated” on the benefits of space

AFP via Getty Images

Richard Branson has hit back at critics who have described his Virgin Galactic spaceflight as a “misuse of resources.”

On July 11, the billionaire became to first person to go into space in a rocket plane of his own - a feat that has just beat out fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos who plans to go into space in nine days.

Appearing on ‘The Late Show’ with Stephen Colbert, the host asked what Sir Richard would like to say in response “pushback” from people who would rather the money from his space program went to solving problems here on Earth - inequality, racism and global warming to name a few.

Sir Richard directly addressed the criticism by saying his critics “are not fully educated” on the benefits of space.

(Left) Sir Richard Branson (Right) Stephen Colbert with their bare feet on the desk during the interviewYouTube/The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

He told Stephen: “I can understand it, but I think maybe they are not fully educated as to what space does for Earth.”

The 70-year-old added that people “wouldn’t be listening to this program most likely if it wasn’t for space” and highlights the useful benefits such as help monitor “things like climate change.”

He explains: “Space is, I mean every single spaceship we sent, whether it’s Virgin Orbit which we launched a week before into orbit, putting satellites up there and monitoring different things around the world, like the degradation of rainforests or monitoring food distribution or monitoring things like climate change and so on.

“These things are essential back here on Earth, so we need more spaceships going up to space, we don’t need less.”

Stephen then asked how much it would cost for a trip to space with Virgin Galactic to which Richard quips: “Well, you could afford it,” causing laughter from the audience.

At the beginning of the interview, Richard bizarrely appeared on screen bare foot while Stephen asks jokingly why all billionaires do this - before join momentarily trying it out for himself.

Sir Richard Branson holds up a photo of comedian Stephen Colbert that he brought with him into spaceAFP via Getty Images

The late night TV host was also chosen to host the livestream of Richard’s first spaceflight, and the British entrepreneur even took a small photo of Stephen with him on his historic trip to space.

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