I am sorry urgent, galactic’s founder sir richard branson is planning to launch above the earth’s surface this sunday. If he succeeds, he’d achieve the feat nine days ahead of amazon rival, jeff bezos. The unity 22 mission will be virgin galactic’s first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including astronaut, zero, zero one and virgin galactic’s founder. Otherwise known as astronaut zero zero one, so richard branson joins me now, alongside sirisha bandler, the company’s vice president of government affairs and research operations great to see you both. So the countdown is on richard. How is it looking and how are you feeling, um, we’re, feeling great um right behind us, you’ll see the mothership and the spaceship has just been attached to the mothership and and so uh we’re on schedule for a launch uh and yes by maybe two or three Hours, i think, before the world cup on sundays, um sirisha is one of the uh wonderful team of people who work for virgin galactic who’s coming with us uh her life dream has been to be i’ve been dreaming of this, since i was little and well i’m Still little but uh since i was young and i didn’t meet the requirements to go, be a traditional astronaut via nasa and when i saw the announcement that richard is going to be making a space line, um that to make space available for for all, i knew That was the way i was going to be able to fulfill my dream.

So what does it take? What kind of training have you been through richard in order to prepare to be an astronaut? Well, as i think you know, because i think you might have been there at a very original launch, um 17 years of making sure that i keep fit healthy and uh do a lot of kiting a lot of surfing um. You know weight, training, extreme biking and and then do things like the centrifuge, which um tests, your body and replicates the flight and and yeah so basically just feel very fit very healthy and um and and very very ready for it. Yeah you mentioned you mentioned richard. The the original launch we were showing some pictures, we’ve been in our archives. Back in 2006, i think i came out to new york when you were launching the prototype. The the mock up of spaceship two it’s been a long time in the planning. This uh it’s been a long long long time, and i had no idea when you came out in 2006, just uh how tough um building space lines are, how tough rocket science is um, but anyway, we’ve had 800 engineers working for 17 years um. They now have ticked every single box, um and now we’re ready for ourselves to go and then uh not we’re, not so long off from uh sending and sending people who are watching this program. Uh i mean my my dream is that young people who are watching this program can get the same excitement from it uh on sunday, as was when i watched the moon landing all those years ago, and just to show young young kids that one day they will Go to space um and that anything’s possible and – and you know, if i’ve dreamt – of building our own space line uh a spaceship that we could go to space on um and yeah it’s, taking a while but um.

Hopefully, on sunday the dream will come true: sirisha we’ve just seen uh some pictures of you and the rest of the crew. What will you be doing on the mission? What is its aim? Yeah? Well, yeah, no, no you’re doing it. Um so i’ll be testing the researcher capabilities on onboard the spaceship, so we’ll be taking future astronauts who want to experience the awe and view of earth from space, but we’ll also be taking researchers and educators that want to conduct science develop new technologies on board the Spaceship so i’ll be testing that human tended uh experience for science and technology um. I can hear from both of you the excitement building up to this, but is there? Are there any nerves? Are there any rituals that you’ll be doing before you fly? Well? I i’m excited, and just just so ready and i think that’s really due to our team, we have an excellent chief astronaut trainer we’ve got excellent crew. Richard um colin from the uk um two excellent pilots um they just built and instilled confidence in me for the slight and my ability to do my job so right now, i’m, not nervous i’m, just really excited and ready, and what about you richard, um yeah? No, i i’m exactly the same. You know we’ve we’ve it’s, taken a long long time to have uh. Our chief engineer say that every box has been ticked. You know we now uh have a spaceship uh that we’re happy with that we’ve tested and tested the rockets.

Um and we’ve tested and tested the mothership uh we’re sitting in this beautiful spaceport i’m looking forward to showing it showing it off to you all on on sunday morning i mean it’s, absolutely stunning just emerges from from the desert here in new mexico and so we’re Ready and we’re i haven’t let myself get excited for 17 years and now i’m, letting myself get very, very excited and richard you don’t get to where you are without a healthy, competitive instinct. How important is it for you to beat jeff bezos? I know nobody will believe me, it honestly isn’t important. I mean what what is important is that we can both create um, very safe um, uh space lines, uh that can offer uh young people who are watching these programs um a chance to go to space. One day and it’s gon na take us quite a long time to be able to build enough spaceships to bring the price down so that young people, you know, will be able to go to space, but that was the same with ordinary airline travel. You know back in the 1920s, it was only the rich people that traveled, but they then enabled more and more space. Sorry, more and more airplanes to be built, which has enabled more and more people to be able to fly and – and the same will happen. I think, with this uh richard branson, seresha bandler. Thank you both very much indeed, the very best of luck.

We will be watching. Thank you.