Exclusive: Space traveler Sir Richard Branson's 17-year wait is over

Supplied (Virgin Galatic)

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, will be boarding Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity and blasting off to space on Sunday.

Ahead of the mission, Branson and two of the crew members, Colin Bennett and Sirisha Bandla, had an exclusive chat with The Kris Fade Show on Virgin Radio Dubai.

Sir Richard Branson says that that he has waited 17 years to make this trip a reality. 

Meanwhile, Sirisha Bandla will become the second Indian-born woman to fly to space.

She told The Kris Fade Show that there’s "no traditional route to get to what you dream of.”

Born in India and raised in Texas, Bandla spoke about the journey to becoming an astronaut and joining Virgin Galactic as the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations.

The 34-year-old credited Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla, both astronauts with Indian backgrounds, as pioneers with whom she felt a sense of “shared identity”.

Bandla hopes to further the chain of motivation by establishing a “downstream effect on many kids in the future” and “make space available to all”.

Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity takes off with six crew members on board on Sunday at 5PM GST and will be live-streamed on the virgin galactic website and on their social media channels on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

More from International

  • Iran warns against retaliation as global powers urge restraint

    Iran warned Israel and the United States on Sunday of a much larger response if there is any retaliation for its mass drone and missile attack on Israeli territory overnight, as Israel said "the campaign is not over yet".

  • 99% of missiles and drones fired by Iran shot down, Israel says

    Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight, 99 per cent of which were shot down, the Israeli military said on Sunday, adding that the armed forces remained fully functional and were discussing follow-up options.

  • Indonesian landslides kill at least 14

    At least 14 people have been killed in landslides on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the country's disaster mitigation agency said on Sunday, with rescue efforts ongoing for those reported missing.

  • Israel says Hamas has rejected hostage, aid proposal

    Hamas has rejected the latest proposal for a deal to return Israeli hostages and Israel will continue to pursue its objectives in Gaza "with full force", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement on Sunday.

  • Sydney stabbings not a terrorist attack, police say

    The man who fatally stabbed six people in Sydney had mental health issues in the past and there was no indication ideology was a motive in the attack in one of the city's busiest shopping centres, police said on Sunday.

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • Nights on Dubai Eye 103.8

    11:00pm - 6:00am

    Dubai Eye complements the conversation with the music you love from the eighties, nineties and newer.

  • The Business Breakfast

    6:00am - 10:00am

    The Business Breakfast is the day’s must listen for the UAE’s business leaders, and those who aspire to be.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Flying Taxis

    It sounds like an episode of The Jetsons, but the sight of flying taxis whizzing around our cities could be much closer than you think.

  • Tough penalties for deliberate tax evasion

    The UAE has said that tougher penalties will come into force from 1st August for not keeping proper corporate tax records.