“Welcome back to the cool green hills of Earth,” said host Stephen Colbert, welcoming the shoeless Branson to the interview couch. The English entrepreneur, 71, boarded his own rocketship on Sunday and hurtled into space with five crewmembers from his Virgin Galactic space tourism company.
“At any point did you think this was not a good idea…?” Colbert asked his guest as they examined footage from the flight. Branson explained that he did initially wonder whether his body was going to cope, but once he realized that it would, “it was a dream come true.” Branson was nervous at first, though ultimately said of his exploration: “It was extraordinary.”
In successfully completing the flight, Branson became the first person to go to space in his own rocketship — beating fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, by nine days.
As far as advice for Bezos when he goes into space, Branson offered: “Sit back, relax, look out of the window. Absorb the view outside. Really take it in, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, enjoy it.”
Colbert brought up the concern from many that going to space might be a “misuse of resources” when there are so many urgent problems in the world that could use funding (both Branson and Bezos have received backlash on social media from users raising concerns about where their wealth is being allocated.)
Branson raised the importance of education in regards to the value that space offers, highlighting the ability of space to monitor such things as the degradation of rainforests and climate change — elements that are essential for Earth and its people.
“I’ve always a dreamer,” Branson said recently on Twitter, prior to his space flight. My mum taught me to never give up and to reach for the stars.”
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) July 14, 2021