Entertainment: No, Richard Branson Did Not Actually Ride His Bike to Space Launch

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Sir Richard Branson , Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have ambitions to expand their respective business ventures into space . It took just 59 minutes for Sir Richard Branson to fulfil his childhood dream. If the first space race was driven by Cold War competition between superpowers, this iteration is driven largely by private entrepreneurs looking to make money (and, yes, perhaps a dash of male ego, too). And as with any space race, this one is getting dirty. An argument has already broken out over whether Sir Richard ’s expedition even counts as space travel.

Richard Branson 's flight was a landmark moment for the fledgling space tourism industry, with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos slated to launch July 20 and Elon Musk not far behind. But dreaming big billionaire-style might come at a hefty toll for the rest of us, says Holly Thomas. For all Branson 's enthusing over imagination, his trip into space was effectively a much-diluted, far posher version of a feat already achieved more than 60 years ago by Yuri Gagarin's groundbreaking flight in Vostok 1. Gagarin, a Soviet carpenter's son who survived the Nazi occupation of Russia, actually accomplished

Richard Branson, billionaire founder of the Virgin Group and now-space explorer, just got a little less relatable. According to Virgin Galactic, a video of Branson riding a bicycle to the historic launch was taken out of context.

a person riding on top of a mountain road: richard branson bike © TheWrap richard branson bike

A Virgin Galactic rep confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday that Branson did not ride his bike at all on launch day. In fact, the video in question was filmed July 5, six days before the flight.

"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 anonymous official told the outlet.

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Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson is reportedly weighing options on how to launch into space ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' departure date. Bezos, who has a net worth of about 1 billion, announced on Monday that he and his younger brother will be among the passengers on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to the edge of space on July 20. On Tuesday, a source told the blog Parabolic Arc that Virgin Galactic wants to send Branson , who has a net worth of about .9 billion, up on a test flight of its VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane over the July 4 weekend.

Richard Branson ’s Virgin Galactic is launching its first fully crewed suborbital mission. The company is in a race with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to secure a share of the lucrative emerging space tourism market. Branson and five other people are riding the VSS Unity, an air- launched rocket plane, for a 90-minute flight voyage to the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. The company launched barbs at its competition shortly before its test, implying that Virgin Galactic’s plane is not actually a spaceship and saying that New Shepard offers a better experience to customers.

The clip shows Branson cycling toward the Spaceport America facility located near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico before greeting crewmates dressed in their flight suits with a hug, with one of them, Beth Moses, the company's chief astronaut instructor, telling him, "You're late, hurry up."


Video: Richard Branson set to launch into space (USA TODAY)

It was included in Virgin's broadcast of the show and posted to Branson's Twitter feed with the  caption, "It's a beautiful day to go to space. We've arrived at @Spaceport_NM."

Branson himself mentioned the bike ride on stage during a postflight celebration, telling the crowd of onlookers, "It's so awesome to arrive on a bicycle, across this beautiful New Mexico countryside."

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Richard Branson became the first person to ride into space aboard a rocket he helped fund. The supersonic space plane developed by his company, Virgin Galactic, roared into the sky over New Mexico early Sunday, carrying Branson and three fellow crewmembers.

Richard Branson finally got his trip to space on Sunday. It has been a very long wait for Mr. Branson , the irreverent, 70-year-old British billionaire who leads a galaxy of Virgin companies. In 2004, he founded Virgin Galactic to provide adventurous tourists with rides on rocket-powered planes to the Richard Branson combined private spaceflight with show business on Sunday as he completed his highly-anticipated Virgin Galactic flight high above the New Mexico desert. He enlisted “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert to introduce segments of a live streamed production, which was delayed around

It turns out that Virgin Galactic has a cross-promotional deal with the bicycle's brand, Trek Bicycle Corp. Named the Domane Unity 22 Project One Ultimate (after the number of the flight, VSS Unity 22) Branson's bike was custom-made to resemble the design of the space plane. Trek says the bike was designed "exclusively for spaceflight."

Trek touted the ride on their social media accounts.

It is unclear how the disclosure that the ride was fabricated will affect Trek's deal with the spaceflight corporation.

Even if the preflight cycling was fictional, Branson's other ride that day was not. The VSS Unity's successful sub-orbital flight landed the British mogul in the history books as the first billionaire to travel to space aboard a craft that he helped fund, presumably beating out Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his scheduled space sojourn by nine days.

Netflix Orders Docuseries Following All-Civilian Mission to Space in 'Near Real-Time' .
Netflix has ordered a docuseries that will follow the Inspiration4 all-civilian mission to space this September in "near real-time" before and after the mission launch, the streaming service said Tuesday. "This September, four civilians will launch into space for a three-day trip orbiting Earth and reaching an altitude higher than that of the International Space Station (ISS)," per Netflix's description for the project. "The SpaceX Dragon"This September, four civilians will launch into space for a three-day trip orbiting Earth and reaching an altitude higher than that of the International Space Station (ISS)," per Netflix's description for the project.

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