Entertainment

Richard Branson reveals what he was ‘nervous stiff’ about before heading into space


Richard Branson stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Tuesday, to talk about all things space travel. This comes after he boarded Virgin Galactic’s Unity rocket ship with five other people and became the first billionaire to reach the edge of space with a suborbital flight on Sunday. And it turns out that after nearly 17 years of working toward his dream of space travel, one of his biggest fears was something any of us – billionaire or not – can understand.

When Colbert, who hosted the livestream for Virgin Galactic’s trip to space, asked about the potential of becoming nauseous, which can happen when people experience zero gravity for the first time, Branson was honest with his answer.

“I was nervous stiff,” he said. “I mean, you got the world filming, and just imagine throwing up all over a spaceship.”

Branson, whose Virgin Galactic company is selling tickets to space tourists, laughed about the admission while Colbert pointed out the obvious by adding, “Not the best advertisement for your product.”

But luckily for Branson, and the millions of people watching, he was able to keep everything down on his way up. They spent five minutes floating in zero gravity before the space plane descended back to Earth. And Branson realized in the moment that the trip did not give him any kind of nauseous feelings.

“I just enjoyed it,” Branson said. “I was relieved, but it was — it was extraordinary.”

It’s probably good that the whole throwing up part never happened, because it could have ruined the gift that Branson got for Colbert, after the host asked to go to space with Branson but was ultimately rejected. So instead, Branson cut out a small photo of Colbert’s face and took that with him. So it’s kinda like the next best thing.

“One small photo for Stephen Colbert, one giant leap for mankind,” Branson said as he handed Colbert the interstellar gift. “This has been to space, and I would like to give it to you.”

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

Watch William Shatner try to conquer his fear of sharks by jumping in with them:

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