news

Richard Branson took Pride flag into space for Virgin Galactic mission

"Somebody who lost a loved one at the Orlando massacre asked if I would do that," Branson said in an interview.

2021-07-12

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: virgingalactic.com/wiki

Richard Branson planned to take a Pride flag into space with him for his Virgin Galactic mission, it has emerged.

The businessman flew to the edge of space and back in his Virgin Galactic passenger rocket plane yesterday (12 July 2021), sharing footage of the voyage across social media.

In a preceding interview, he revealed he was taking the Pride symbol in honour of the 49 people killed by gunman Omar Mateen during the shooting at gay nightclub Pulse on 12 July 2016.

"We also have many, many friends who are gay"

"Somebody who lost a loved one at the Orlando massacre asked if I would do that," the 70-year-old told The Mail On Sunday.

"We also have many, many friends who are gay and I know people who lost friends there," he added.

In a video shared to Twitter, the Pride flag appeared to take the form of a rainbow ribbon attached to Branson's spacesuit.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson)

Mateen, who was shot and killed after a three-hour standoff with police, wounded a further 53 people during the massacre. Most of his victims were LGBTQ.

Elsewhere in the interview, Branson said: "The last bit of advice I have been given from other astronauts is do not take a camera, do not take notebooks, just look out of the window and look back at this incredible world we live in and take it all in."

The 59-minute flight reached 55 miles above the Earth's surface and allowed passangers to experience weightlessness.  

Kicking off the voyage, Branson tweeted: "Welcome to the dawn of a new space age." 

The Attitude Summer issue is out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over 1.50 per issue.