Elon Musk and infant son made surprise visit to Richard Branson in middle of the night before SpaceX flight

‘We made a pot of tea and sat outside under the stars and caught up’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 09 January 2023 21:34 GMT

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Richard Branson has said that Elon Musk made a nighttime visit to him at his home in New Mexico along with his two-year-old son before the Virgin Galactic founder’s first spaceflight.

Mr Branson told The Sunday Times that the visit took place at around 2.30am on 11 July 2021.

“I woke up two hours earlier than I was meant to and jumped out of bed, and then actually realiszed I’d got the wrong time but by then I was wide awake,” he said.

After waking up, Mr Branson went to the kitchen in his residence close to the Virgin spaceport in the American West to have some coffee, where Mr Musk was waiting.

Mr Branson told The Sunday Times that the Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder “had decided to surprise us” and to wish him luck ahead of his first space journey.

“Basically, he’s a night animal. He doesn’t really sleep at night and gets his sleep in the daytime,” Mr Branson told the paper. “We made a pot of tea and sat outside under the stars and caught up.”

On the morning of 11 July 2021, Mr Branson tweeted an image of the two of them in the kitchen.

“Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready,” he wrote.

Mr Musk joined Mr Branson at the launch to watch him take off.

“Congratulations, beautiful flight!” he tweeted to Mr Branson after the flight.

Virgin Galactic’s next spaceflight is set to take place this summer. Mr Branson told The Sunday Times that he would be “delighted” if Mr Musk could fly at some point, but added that “he’s obviously got his hands full at the moment,” in reference to Mr Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter.

Mr Branson said that Mr Musk is “tremendously smart and even more driven,” adding that he admired Mr Musk’s “talent and his willingness to take calculated risks”.

He lauded Mr Musk for his determination in the face of adversity.

“He’s the Henry Ford of his generation,” Mr Branson added.

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