Tag Archives: Richard Branson

Prototype of New Supersonic Commercial Jet Unveiled


Concorde may be gone but the dream of supersonic flight is alive and well, as seen in the reveal last week of a prototype of Sir Richard Branson and co’s new supersonic commercial jet. In case you’ve forgotten what this might mean, supersonic flights could cut international flight times by as much as half. This is one step closer to becoming reality after Branson and an ambitious start-up unveiled a prototype of their “Baby Boom” jet in the US last week.

After first announcing their partnership back in March, Branson and the Colorado-based aeronautics company Boom pulled back the curtain on their XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator – also dubbed Baby Boom – in a Denver hangar this week.

The specs for the next-generation jet are impressive: At Mach 2.2, the aircraft would travel at more than twice the speed of sound, and 2.6 times faster than any other airliner.

That means flying from New York to London in 3 hours and 15 minutes – half the normal flight time for a commercial aircraft.

Travelers flying from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia would also shave 8 hours and 15 minutes off their flight, and cross the Pacific in just under seven hours.

And flights between San Francisco and Tokyo would be halved, arriving in 5 hours and 30 minutes.

What will breaking the sound barrier feel like? According to engineers, flying at 60,000 feet – nearly twice the altitude of commercial aircraft – takes fliers above most of the turbulence to offer a smoother, inaudible ride.

The prototype unveiled in Denver this week was a smaller but technically representative model of the future supersonic jet.

The first test flight is expected to take place late next year, and the first commercial flight to take off in 2023.

Despite the demise of the Concorde, Boom believes the world is on the brink of a new era in aviation with breakthrough aerodynamic design, advanced engine technology, fuel efficiency, and lighter composite materials that translate into lower ticket prices.

That means the ability to price transatlantic flights for $5,000, making it comparable to business and first class fares.

Sky-high tickets for the Concorde and declining load factors contributed to an unsustainable business model.

The Boom aircraft will be configured to seat 45 passengers. As supersonic flight is banned over the US, routes will be primarily international such as New York to London or San Francisco to Tokyo, flying subsonically when over land.

The first subsonic test flight will be conducted near Denver next year, and a supersonic flight conducted from Southern California.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are also developing their own supersonic aircraft.

Branson Launches Virgin Voyages, Says Cruises Boring

Entrepreneurial legend Sir Richard Branson announced his plans to expand his travel empire into the world of high-end sea journeys with Virgin Voyages. He’ll spend $1.95 billion on this latest venture, which he hopes will radically reshape the world of cruises.

“I have never been on a cruise, and never wanted to – they sound stuffy and dull. But I would love to go on a Voyage – they sound adventurous, exciting and glamourous.” Those are Branson’s words from the Virgin website.

After commercial space travel, hotels, private islands, airlines and trains, Branson has pulled into port with Virgin Voyages, a venture created to address what Branson sees as gaps in the cruise market. You might recall this was once called Virgin Cruises but, Branson has explained why he’s not going with the word ‘cruise.’

We don’t know what exactly Virgin Voyages will be doing to address the whole “dull and stuffy” bit but we do know that the first ship will drop anchor by 2020, in Miami. The US city will be Virgin Voyages’ home port, from where it will set off on Caribbean itineraries. This vessel – the first of three – will host more than 2,700 sailors and 1,150 crew members. All three ships are being built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

Branson also announced that the cruise – ahem, voyage – line has partnered with clean energy company Climeon to power their seafaring voyages.

The Climeon Ocean system claims to transform low-grade energy into clean electricity that’s estimated to save 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide annually per ship – an amount that would otherwise take 180,000 trees 30 years to absorb.

The preoccupation with green cruising grabbed headlines this year when the Crystal Serenity became the world’s first luxury cruise liner to sail through the fabled Northwest Passage this summer – a feat made possible by the effects of global warming.

Though shipbuilders made efforts to reduce its carbon footprint with low-sulfur Marine Gas oil fuel, critics lambasted the voyage for what they call a decadent invasion on one of the last pristine frontiers on earth.

VSS Unity completes its first flight test

Virgin Galactic Soars on Test Flight

We love the idea of space tourism here, hence we avidly follow SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, which returns to the news with a successful test flight. Two years after a fatal accident, we were very pleased to read the reports of Virgin Galactic’s newly built craft completing a four-hour test flight over the Mojave desert, without incident.

The craft in question, the VSS Unity is the first spaceship built by the company’s manufacturing arm. Though it soared to over 50,000 feet, it is too soon to get excited if you were hoping of booking a ticket and becoming a space tourist. Yes, this reminder applies to us first and foremost!

Even if Virgin described the flight as an “Emotional and fulfilling moment for our hardworking team,” the flight was a ‘captive carry’ exercise meaning that the VSS Unity never undocked from its mothership, VMS Eve.

Virgin’s system for launching craft into space involves two ships, one to reach the upper limits of the atmosphere and one that breaks away from it and reaches for the stars.

Therefore there is still a mountain of data to collect and a battery of further tests that need to be completed before the company can come close to its dream of offering members of the public space travel.

However, today’s successful flight should be seen as the first step on that journey.

In other surprise related news, Blue Origin announced a test of its emergency escape system, in place aboard the New Shepard vehicle. Scheduled for October, this escape system will allow the crew to separate from their rocket booster in the event of unforeseen difficulties after launch.

Of course, we are also interested in these bits of space news because of the personalities involved, who are some of the world’s most recognizable and inspirational billionaires. Virgin Galactic is run by Sir Richard Branson while Blue Origin is a Jeff Bezos company. SpaceX is an Elon Musk venture.

Richard Branson Launches Exclusive Spanish Villas

The billionaire property developer and owner of Virgin Air, Sir Richard Branson, is set to add one more venture to his already impressive portfolio with the launch of luxury villas on the Son Bunyola Estates. Part of the truly scenic island getaway, the pair of villas are found nestled among citrus fruit, almond and olive trees. One can only expect the retreats to be as luxurious as his other exclusive luxury retreats and private islands.

Terrace of the Sa Punta de S’Aguila Villa in Mallorca, Spain

Terrace of the Sa Punta de S’Aguila Villa in Mallorca, Spain

The estate of Son Bunyola is situated on the Northwest coast of Mallorca, Spain. Spanning 700 acres, the estate is said to date back to the 1800s and even boats a private gated entrance, adding to the exclusivity of the two villas. With a view of the Tramuntana mountain range in the distance, the vacation option is one that could prove to be a hit among those with cash to spend.

The Pool at Sa Punta de S’Aguila Villa in Mallorca, Spain

The Pool at Sa Punta de S’Aguila Villa in Mallorca, Spain

In the first villa, Sa Punta de S’Aguila, guests can look forward to amenities such as a heated swimming pool, kitchen, living room and dining area. With five en-suite bedrooms, the villa whose name translates to “Eagle’s Point” can accommodate up to 10 adults. A seven-night stay at the villa is expected to cost €21,825 which includes meals, drinks, wireless Internet and concierge services — which amounts to €3,120 a night for each couple.

Bedroom of the Sa Terra Rotja Villa, Mallorca, Spain

Bedroom of the Sa Terra Rotja Villa, Mallorca, Spain

At Sa Terra Rotja, which translates to “Red earth”, guests will be able to enjoy the pebble beach just a short distance from the villa. The four en-suite bedrooms provide a comfortable space for eight adults. Rates for the second villa start at €17,460 for seven nights.

This story is also available in Bahasa Indonesia. Read it here: Richard Branson Luncurkan Villa Spanyol Eksklusif

Four Seasons Offers New Private Island in Maldives

If you’re looking for a private island experience like no other, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ first private Maldivian island at Voavah, Baa Atoll should do the trick.

Set to open in late 2016, this remote five-acre oasis – part of the company’s selection of Extraordinary Experiences – is entirely yours throughout your stay, including its seven bedrooms, Oceans of Consciousness Spa, dive center and 62-foot (18.9 meter) yacht. The double-story resort also features an open-air living room, dining room, kitchen, pool deck, gym, library and loft lounge; and if that’s not impressive enough, the over-water spa will also be available for a variety of wellness therapies and rituals, including yoga, high-end beauty treatments and Rossano Ferretti hair consultancy services.

maldives_four seasons_voavah

As the island is the world’s only exclusive-use UNESCO retreat in a World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the resort was constructed in consultation with local environmental groups with the aim of maintaining the balance between humans and nature so the conservation angle is very strong. Activities such as diving with whale sharks, snorkeling with manta rays, swimming with turtles and surfing are only some of the unique educational conservation activities Four Seasons has to offer.

“As the latest addition to our Extraordinary Experiences collection, the island speaks to the company’s commitment to perfecting the guest experience and our ability to re-imagine the limits of luxury travel in creative and innovative ways. It’s just one of the many ways we’re constantly evolving our offerings to deliver the kind of memorable, fully-customized and exclusive experiences our guests want and value,” said Mike Crawford, President, Asia Pacific.

maldives_four seasons_voavah

The property is also projected to be a favorite amongst the rich and famous for its seclusion and exclusivity. To put into perspective how isolated it is: it takes a 40-minute seaplane transfer from the Male International Airport, or 20-minute speedboat ride from the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru to get there. Surrounded by fine white sand and azure waters, Voavah is only one of the 75 islands of Baa Atoll, of which 13 are inhabited. If you’re expecting a larger crowd though, you might want to look instead to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which can sleep 34 adults, perfect for all your VIP party needs.

Virgin Galactic Reveals New Spaceship

Some 16 months after the fatal crash of the Virgin Galactic commercial spacecraft, the space tourism company owned by British billionaire Richard Branson revealed a follow-up February 19. SpaceShipTwo is the rather bland name for this ambitious effort, although the new model spacecraft is reportedly called VSS Unity.

The big reveal Friday marked the beginning of a testing phase for the SpaceShipTwo, and the company underscored that commercial space flights would not be available until Virgin Galactic was satisfied it could carry them out safely.

“As we celebrate the end of one critical phase of work, we also mark the start of a new phase, one focused on further testing and, ultimately, the first commercial human spaceflight program in history,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

The new spaceship, which largely looks the same as its predecessor, made its debut in a ceremony at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. It was towed into a hanger by a white Range Rover SUV, with Branson standing in the sunroof and waving.

It was dubbed the “Unity,” a name chosen by renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Virgin Galaxy said in a tweet.

The company’s goal is to take customers to the edge of space, more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth.

Despite the hefty $250,000 price tag, more than 600 would-be astronauts have already signed up, including Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.

However, the company’s efforts faced a major setback when the first version of the SpaceShipTwo disintegrated over California’s Mojave Desert on October 31, 2014, with investigators blaming premature brake deployment during the test flight.

The pilot was injured but successfully deployed his parachute, while the co-pilot was killed.

“It’s not an easy business. If it was an easy business we wouldn’t only have had 500 people having been to space since space travel started,” Branson told Sky News on Friday.

“There’s a tremendous, exciting future but obviously it’s tough,” he said.

Testing on the SpaceShipTwo, which Branson said was constructed by a team of 650 engineers, will begin with the electrical system and moving parts, followed by flights attached to the WhiteKnightTwo mothership before progressing to glide testing.

“Because our new vehicle is so similar to its predecessor, we benefit from incredibly useful data from 55 successful test flights as well as the brutal but important lessons from one tragic flight test accident,” Virgin Galactic said in its statement.

SpaceShipTwo is a commercial version of SpaceShipOne, the first private spacecraft to reach the edge of space in 2004.

The new craft may one day carry six passengers on three-hour suborbital flights, offering them the possibility of momentary weightlessness and unparalleled views of Earth.

“The most important thing is that we get the test program done and completed so we can send people safely into space. And start a program where this spaceship can go into space hundreds of times in the years to come,” Branson told Sky News.

Virgin Galactic to Reveal 2nd Spacecraft

It is the best time ever to be a science fan, even in the world of luxury, as the possibility of commercial space travel moves forward thanks to Virgin Galactic. The Richard Branson-founded Virgin Galactic announced its second commercial spacecraft will have a public reveal in February 2016. The official unveiling ceremony will be attended by no less than Stephen Hawking.

Sir Richard Branson will be rolling out the second SpaceShip Two from its assembly, integration and test hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California to an invite-only crowd that will include the world’s most famous physicist, reports NBC News.

Hawking is the only person to have been gifted a free ticket to take a space ride with Virgin Galactic, health permitting. Remember that space is still the most expensive journey on offer.

The company is moving forward with plans to make commercial space flight a reality, despite suffering a huge setback when the previous SpaceShip Two crashed in 2014 killing one pilot and injuring another.

The spacecraft will be unveiled Feb. 19. Following in the wake of Star Wars and CES, plus the recent success of Falcon 9 and Blue Origin, our future in space looks brighter than ever. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a successful flight.

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP.

Richard Branson Carlos Gimene

Virgin Cruises to launch in Miami in 2020

Richard Branson Carlos Gimene

Virgin Cruises will launch its first luxury liner in 2020 from Miami, British tycoon Richard Branson announced Tuesday, placing his bets on medium size “boutique” ships.

True to his flamboyant style, Branson arrived amid fireworks at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, descending from a helicopter dressed in a captain’s uniform and short pants.

“Virgin Cruises plans to make some waves with an original and intimate experience,” he said at a news conference.

He promised “a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good. The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike.”

A joint venture with Bain Capital, the cruise line will be the latest addition to the 62-year-old Branson’s Virgin Group, which includes an airline, railroad, bank and cable operator among its more than 400 holdings.

The amount invested in Virgin Cruises was not disclosed.

Branson said he has ordered the line’s first three ships from Italy’s Fincantieri, which will deliver them in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“We made the decision to sail against the current trend of building these big megaships,” Virgin Cruises president and CEO Tom McAlpin said. “We are going to be constructing smaller, more boutique vessels.”

“We have deliberately chosen a size of ship that allows us to offer an excellent variety of experiences but in a more intimate environment.”

He said the ships will weigh about 110,000 tonnes each, and have capacity to carry some 2,800 passengers and a crew of 1,150.

“These are highly technological machines,” said Vincenzo Petrone, the president of Fincantieri. “The level of the entertainment … envisioned is extremely complex with technological challenges. But we are sure we can together develop a very special type of platform.”

Land Rover enters Virgin Galactic partnership

Land Rover teams up with Virgin Galactic

Land Rover enters Virgin Galactic partnership

Land Rover has revealed a long-term global partnership with Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic.

Land Rover vehicles will be used by Virgin Galactic’s ‘astronauts’ at the company’s test centre in the Mojave Desert, California and at the actual base for space flights, Spaceport America in New Mexico. The cars will even be used to ferry passengers from the terminal to the spaceship itself.

spaceport

It used the launch of the new Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept at the New York Motor Show to unveil the partnership, which came against the backdrop of the launch of SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial passenger carrying spacecraft.

Last April, SpaceShipTwo made its first powered flight over the Mojave Desert. To date, the company has accepted more than $70 million in deposits for space flights from about 580 people.

The new family of Discovery vehicles will go on sale next year. The Land Rover Discovery will move from a single model to a new family of vehicles.

Richard Branson To Buy South African Vineyard And Hotel

Mont Rochelle Hotel

British billionaire and investor Sir Richard Branson is to buy Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyard in the South African region of Franschhoek.

The estate boasts a history that dates back to the 17th century. Branson said he wants to promote wine tourism in the Franschoek area.

The 22-bedroom property includes a fitness facility, an outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi and a sauna, and activities like wine tastings on horseback, golf, and tours of the local farmer’s market and chocolate factory.

Mont Rochelle hotel pool

Wines produced out of the vineyards include Sauvignon Blanc, unwooded Chardonnay, barrel fermented Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and rosé.

The South African property will expand Branson’s existing Virgin Limited Edition portfolio that includes Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve in South Africa, Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, The Lodge in Verbier and Mahali Mzuri, a tented safari camp in Kenya.

Mont Rochelle Hotel photo

Branson will close the Mont Rochelle hotel for refurbishments and re-open in August. Set on a hilltop, the estate also includes 39 hectares of vinelands.

 

Virgin Galactic spaceship

Virgin searches for boy who inspired Virgin Galactic

Sir Richard Branson has launched a worldwide appeal to help him find the child who, 26 years ago, asked a question that inspired him to launch his commercial spaceline Virgin Galactic.

During a live appearance on a BBC TV show in 1988, Branson answered a viewer call from a young Shihan Musafer, who asked him “Have you ever thought about going into space?”

It was a harebrained idea at the time, to which Branson answered in the hypothetical: “I’d love to go into space, as I think pretty well everybody watching this show would love to go to space,” he replied.

“When you see those magnificent pictures in space and the incredible views, I think there could be nothing nicer. So if you’re building a spacecraft I’d love to come with you on it.”

Little did Branson know (or did he?) that little more than a quarter century later, he would be putting the finishing touches on what is poised to become a historic milestone in commercial and space travel.

“Now, Richard and the Virgin Galactic team are keen to track down Shihan to say a personal thank you for helping to inspire the idea with that phone call.”

Know Musafer? Tweet @richardbranson using the hashtag #shihanmusafer for his chance to take part in the historic flight as a VIP guest.

Old Dearborn Bank Building photo

Virgin Hotels to open in Chicago

Chicago skyline

After planes, trains and spaceships, Sir Richard Branson has revealed new details on his latest travel-related venture: Virgin Hotels.

According to a new infographic released from Virgin, the inaugural Virgin Hotel is slated to open in Chicago’s central business district, The Loop, and feature 210 rooms, 38 suites, and 2 ‘Rock Star’ rooms.

In line with the brand’s overall branding strategy, Virgin Hotels will target a creative, high-income audience by pitching a “sophisticated hotel experience.”

Other specs for the hotel include a rooftop lounge, the Boheme, two restaurants, a coffee and wine bar; gym, yoga and relaxation center; business area, theater and dance floor.

The hotel takes over the 27-storey landmark Old Dearborn Bank Building and is expected to open in September.

Virgin said that the Art Deco building, designed in 1928, “has significant historic and architectural features that will be restored and recreated.”

The Virgin Hotels brand is expected to offer accommodation competing with upscale lifestyle or luxury chains such as W HotelsAndaz or Hotel Indigo.

Branson has also expressed interest in moving his Virgin brand into the cruise industry, telling German business daily Handelsblatt that he’s already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany.

Old Dearborn Bank Building

cruise ship thumb

Richard Branson to create “Virgin Cruises”

cruise

British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is looking to move into cruise shipping, he told the German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday.

“We want to move into the cruise-shipping business with Virgin in the next few years,” Branson said.

“We are already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany on the construction of big ships for Virgin Cruises,” he said, adding that the chances that a German company could win a contract were “very good.”

The newspaper quoted industry sources as saying that Branson would invest about $1.7 billion in the project. The ships could be launched by 2019.

 

Necker Island photo

Sir Richard Branson’s Caribbean island paradise reopens

Necker Island photo

After burning to the ground in a spectacular fire two years ago, Sir Richard Branson’s luxury Caribbean Necker Island hideaway has reopened for business.

Necker Island Great House main room

It was a headline-grabbing event in 2011, when the main house was set ablaze by a suspected lightning strike forcing guests, including actress Kate Winslet, to flee. The actress was also lauded as a hero for hauling Branson’s 90-year-old mother Eve to safety.

Necker Island  Great House master bedroom

But the main Great House resort on Necker Island, Branson’s private island hideaway in the British Virgin Islands, has been restored after a two-year renovation. Inspired by Balinese designs, each of the eight guest rooms features a balcony, king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms.

Necker Island bedroom view

The Master Suite, meanwhile, clocks in at 1,500 square feet (140 square meters) and offers panoramic views of the tropical island, a two-person Jacuzzi and a kitchenette.

Necker Island Bali Beach

Necker Island — its Great House and six individual Bali cabins —  can accommodate up to 30 guests plus six children. The price tag for renting out the island paradise? A round US$60,000 a night.

Chess for two

The 74-acre island has hosted a bevy of celebrities and powerful elites including Diana, the Princess of Wales, Princes William and Harry, and former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Beach bonfire

branson stewardess

Branson serves as AirAsia stewardess after losing bet

Richard Branson AirAsia

British billionaire Richard Branson strutted his stuff as an AirAsia flight attendant Sunday — complete with fishnet stockings and figure-hugging red pencil skirt.

His star turn on the flight from Australia’s Perth to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur came after he lost a Grand Prix bet with the Malaysian budget carrier’s founder.

Virgin boss Branson agreed with AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes in 2010 that whoever’s Formula One team — then Virgin and Lotus — finished their debut season lower would serve as a stewardess on the other’s airline.

The British tycoon came off worse after Virgin ended 12th in the World Constructors’ Championship, two spots behind Lotus. But his stint as a stewardess was postponed in early 2011 after he injured himself while skiing.

There was no escape on Sunday however, when Branson was recruited to serve coffee, tea and meals on the five-and-a-half-hour flight.

Though he kept his trademark beard, he shaved his legs to show them off in black fishnets beneath his red AirAsia uniform. He topped off the outfit with bright red lipstick, heavy eye make-up and his blonde hair pulled back in a quiff.

Photos from the flight showed him chatting with passengers and serving food to Fernandes, who used to work for Branson in the music industry.

“This has been a real first for me but I have enjoyed the experience,” Branson was quoted as saying in an AirAsia statement. “I’ve always said I’m a man of my word and I’m happy to have finally honoured the bet.”

Branson disembarked in red flat ballet pumps and posed with a handbag for waiting media.

Fernandes said Branson graduated as an AirAsia cabin crew member “with flying colours”.

AirAsia donated part of the money from ticket sales for the flight to a children’s charity in Australia.

Since the original bet was made between Branson and Fernandes, Virgin’s team has been bought by Marussia Motors, while Fernandes’ team has been renamed Caterham. Both of those teams finished 2012 with no points.

branson airasia stewardess

 

Virgin Galactic spaceship

Virgin Galactic tourist spaceship breaks sound barrier

Virgin Galactic tourist spaceship

Virgin Galactic‘s passenger spaceplane, which is designed to take tourists to the edge of space, flew its first rocket-powered test flight Monday, breaking the sound barrier at high altitude.

SpaceShipTwo ignited its engine after being released by WhiteKnightTwo, a plane that carried it to 47,000 feet (14,000 meters) above California’s Mojave desert. The rocket burned, as planned, for 16 seconds — enough to propel the spacecraft to 55,000 feet at 1.2 times the speed of sound.

“For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight,” said Richard Branson, who observed from the ground.

He predicted the successful test would pave the way to “full space flight by the year’s end.”

Next time, the company plans to keep the rocket going longer, to bring SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of more than 328,000 feet (100 kilometers), on the edge of space.

During the rocket-powered flight, pilots Mark Stucky and Mike Alsbury commanded the SS2, which, after just 10 minutes, landed safely on the runway of the Mohave Air and Space Port.

More than 500 people have already reserved seats — and paid a deposit on the $200,000 ticket price — for a minutes-long suborbital flight on SS2.

Branson has also said that he’ll bring his family on one of the flights to show his confidence in the safety of the spacecraft. SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers.

richard Branson shaped ice cube

Virgin launches Branson-shaped ice cube

richard Branson shaped ice cube

In order to celebrate the airline’s new in-flight bar, Virgin Atlantic has decided to create custom ice cubes in the shape of Richard Branson‘s head.

The bar will also incorporate a raft of additional innovations including the fabulous new champagne coupe glass, enhanced mood lighting and a new seating system to facilitate the most comfortable social experience in the air.
Continue reading

Masai Maara Kenya

Virgin joins other chains with new Africa hotel

Masai Maara Kenya

As African hotels continue to boom, Virgin has announced that it is to become the latest name to move into the continent.

Virgin Limited Edition, Richard Branson’s luxury travel brand, is set to open a 12-tented camp in the Masai Maara Game Reserve next year.

The Mahali Mzuri camp will hold double-occupancy tents, meaning a maximum of 24 people at one time, with fully inclusive services set to include meals, drinks and daily game drives around the area.
Continue reading

US actor Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher signs up for Branson space flight

US actor Ashton Kutcher

Actor Ashton Kutcher is set to go into orbit after becoming the 500th customer to sign up for Richard Branson’s pioneering space ship, the British tycoon said Monday.

The newly-single star is “thrilled” to join the line for the Virgin Galactic service, which is in its “final stages” of flight tests, Branson wrote on his blog.

“I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him,” wrote the multi-millionaire entrepreneur, known for his trademark publicity stunts.
Continue reading

Spaceport America

Branson opens world’s first ‘spaceport’ in New Mexico

Spaceport America Foster and Partners

Richard Branson on Monday opened the world’s first-ever commercial spaceport in the New Mexico desert, the new home for his company, Virgin Galactic.

The eccentric businessman inaugurated the building by breaking a champagne bottle against a hanger building, while rappelling down the side of it.

“Spaceport America” awill serve “as the operating hub for Virgin Galactic and is expected to house up to two WhiteKnightTwos and five SpaceShipTwos, in addition to all of Virgins astronaut preparation facilities and mission control.”
Continue reading