Richard Branson says Elon Musk surprised him in his kitchen at 2 AM last year before spaceflight

Richard Bronson said in an interview this weekend that last year Elon Musk made a surprise visit to his New Mexico home around 2:30 in the morning to wish him well on his first space flight. 

Branson said he woke up in the middle of the night to find the SpaceX CEO barefoot in his kitchen downstairs with his fast asleep baby X Æ A-12 after a staff member had let him in. 

“I think it was about 2:30 a.m.,” Branson told the newspaper. “I woke up two hours earlier than I was meant to and jumped out of bed, and then actually realized I’d got the wrong time but by then I was wide awake.”

He said he went down to the kitchen to get a cup a coffee and found “Elon had decided to surprise us. He was there with his baby. Basically, he’s a night animal. He doesn’t really sleep at night and gets his sleep in the daytime. We made a pot of tea and sat outside under the stars and caught up.”

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Richard Branson with Elon Musk

Musk later joined Branson at the New Mexico spaceport before the latter went up for his 90-minute Virgin Galactic to briefly experience weightlessness, beating Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin flight by nine days. 

Virgin Galactic’s next flight is this summer and Branson said he’d be “delighted” to have Musk fly sometime “but he’s obviously got his hands full [with Twitter] at the moment.”

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Musk has said he’d prefer to ride on Virgin Galactic because SpaceX is more focused on orbital space. 

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson briefly flew into space aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel in July 2021.  (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images  | Virgin Orbit / Getty Images)

“There’s a big difference that the public doesn’t quite appreciate between orbital and sub-orbital space flight,” Musk told the newspaper 12 years ago. “To do an orbital space flight you need to have a terminal velocity of 25 times the speed of sound — Mach 25. Whereas sub-orbital you can get away with a terminal velocity of Mach 3.”

He added at the time, “What Branson’s doing is cool. It’s great and I’ve actually bought a ticket. I’ve been asking for a date. I’m not sure when exactly but I intend to fly on this thing.”

Elon Musk at a press conference

Elon Musk has said he would personally like to go into suborbital space aboard one of Richard’s Branson’s vessel’s because SpaceX is focused on orbital space. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Musk, who is the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter, has yet to fly. 

“Elon is tremendously smart and even more driven,” Branson told the Times. “I admire his talent and his willingness to take calculated risks. He has been inches from failure on many, many occasions and kept pushing. He’s the Henry Ford of his generation.”

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