Richard Branson Didn’t Ride a Bicycle to Space Launch, Virgin Galactic Says

Virgin Galactic acknowledged on Tuesday that billionaire founder Richard Branson by no means rode a bicycle to the launch web site of his area flight on Sunday, as depicted in a extremely publicised video included within the firm’s webcast of the occasion.

The video clip confirmed Branson using his bike towards New Mexico’s state-owned Spaceport America close to the city of Truth or Consequences, flanked by two SUVs, and handing his security helmet to an assistant upon arrival.

Branson, 70, is then seen greeting crewmates dressed of their flight fits with a hug, with one among them, Beth Moses, the corporate’s chief astronaut teacher, telling him, “You’re late, hurry up.”

On Tuesday, a Virgin Galactic official, talking anonymously, affirmed to Reuters by textual content that the video in query was filmed on July 5, the Monday earlier than the flight, and that Branson didn’t journey his bike in any respect the day of the launch.

“The footage of Sir Richard Branson shown during the event Sunday was prerecorded and misidentified in the broadcast. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused,” the official mentioned in a textual content message.

It was unclear whether or not the disclosure that the Sunday biking journey was fictional would complicate Virgin Galactic’s cross-promotional cope with Wisconsin-based Trek Bicycle. Trek had claimed that Branson rode one among its custom-made bikes to the spaceport on launch day.

Representatives of Trek weren’t instantly accessible to touch upon the matter.

Branson has touted his rocket airplane journey, the corporate’s first totally crewed take a look at flight of the car to area, as a precursor to a new period of astro-tourism, with the corporate he based poised to start business operations subsequent 12 months.

The purported Sunday bike journey appeared to typify his public persona because the adventuresome enterprise govt whose Virgin manufacturers – from airways to music corporations – have been related to ocean-crossing exploits in sailboats and hot-air balloons.

The bicycle video clip was posted to Branson’s Twitter feed shortly earlier than Sunday’s launch. Virgin additionally broadcast the clip, with the tagline “earlier today,” throughout its livestream presentation of the flight.

Branson, himself, made point out of the bike journey from the stage of a post-flight celebration again on the spaceport, telling a crowd of supporters, “It’s so superior to arrive on a bicycle, throughout this lovely New Mexico countryside.”

Reuters, together with many different information retailers, included the videotaped account of Branson’s bike journey in a few of its launch-day protection on Sunday. Reuters dropped the bicycle journey from its story when doubts about its timing emerged early on Sunday.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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