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VIRGIN – I wrote recently about the family spirit at Virgin Galactic, and how our purpose of opening up space to change the world for good drives everything we do. There is evidence of this in practice every day as the team works tirelessly in Mojave and Long Beach. The spirit is also palpable from the supporters we hear from every day, whether in person, on social media or elsewhere.

 

Four people whose support is both an honour and a thrill are Malala, Professor Stephen Hawking, Sarah Brightman and Harrison Ford, all of whom took part in the roll out of VSS Unity. Malala’s inspiring message raised smiles throughout the room, Sarah kindly sang a moving happy birthday to Eva-Deia and when the lights went off Professor Hawking’s distinctive voice echoed through the hangar. I had a lump in my throat. His message about the importance of space exploration will live long in the memory of everyone present. You can watch both of their speeches in this blog.

 

It was wonderful to see Harrison Ford, a true adventurer and a pilot as well as a legendary actor, at the roll out. He was incredibly impressed with the new spaceship, and spent time in the cockpit with our Chief Pilot Dave Mackay. Dave happily let General Solo take the left hand seat in our new spaceship. From the Millennium Falcon to VSS Unity! We had a great chat afterwards, and he told me all about his crash onto a golf course and how he had survived. I thanked him for taking the time and trouble to come out to Mojave for our milestone, and welcomed him back any time.

 

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One of the most moving moments of the event was when my daughter-in-law Isabella shared some more of Professor Hawking’s wisdom: “When we see the Earth from space we see ourselves as a whole. We see the unity, but not the divisions. One planet, one human race. We are here together and we need to live together with tolerance and respect.” It is a message of unity, which was very fitting for the introduction of our new spaceship, VSS Unity.




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