Branson reached space on a test flight for Virgin Galactic before gliding back to Earth and touching down safely Sunday, the latest salvo in the burgeoning space tourism business led by high-profile billionaires. The historic venture resulted in some critics asking if it was a good idea to launch costly, fuel-guzzling rockets into space, but Branson feels the trip was certainly worth the costs.
“I think they’re not fully educated to what space does for Earth,” Branson told “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday.
“It’s connecting the billions of people who are not connected — on telephones, on other things. Every single spaceship that we’ve sent… putting satellites up there, monitoring different things around the world like the degradation of rainforests, monitoring food distribution, even monitoring things like climate change,” Branson continued. “These things are essential for us back here on Earth. So we need more spaceships going up to space, we don’t need less.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter was among the critics of Branson, as the liberal pundit pondered aloud on Sunday whether it was ethical. He read out a tweet, “Have to wonder, if, in the future, billionaires taking vanity tours of space while the climate overheats will be one of the moments the historians wrote about,” before echoing the point.
“On Friday, in Death Valley, California, it was 130 degrees, the highest temperature ever. Saturday, same thing. Today, it might, again, set a record for the highest temperature on the planet,” Stelter said. “Is it moral, is it ethical to be launching rockets and flying off to space and spending all this money and burning all this fuel in an age of climate crisis?”
Fox Business Network’s Peter Aitken contributed to this report.