Richard Branson - RBC: "Millions would like to get into the space"

It seems that Richard Branson lives at cosmic speeds.
15.12.2014
RBC
Origin source
The American Mojave desert fell SpaceShipTwo suborbital ship his company Virgin Galactic. Two companies with his participation, airline Virgin America and financial Virgin Money, went public, becoming a business worth $ 3.6 billion (share Branson - about $ 1 billion). To some of these events would be enough for a lifetime, in Branson, they fit in two weeks of November. It manages the business, sitting on its own island in the Caribbean Sea, and from there gave an interview to the magazine "RBC" - the cosmos, the ocean, the richness, and the future war.

Space and Ocean

- Every 20th space launch fails. A month ago, during a test flight of SpaceShipTwo craft accident, the pilot was killed. Do not you think that a radical increase flight safety required for the emergence of space tourism industry?

- It is very important that Virgin Galactic flight was a test and vehicle driving test pilots. It was held just to make sure that our flights are safe for the public. According to preliminary investigation, the cause of the accident was human error, rather than a refusal tehniki. Rockets worked as it should, SpaceShip worked as it should, the carrier was in perfect order. Therefore, we hope to be able to resume flights quite quickly - with two new ships, which will be commissioned before the end of this year. Naturally, we will fly only if you obtain the permission of the Federal Aviation Administration [regulate aviation safety in the United States. - Approx. RBC], and they, in turn, will do everything possible to anyone no danger.

We have always said that space flights are still about the same stage of development, and aircraft in the 1930s. Over the years, they have become much safer. We, however, believe that it's worth it right now and you can achieve great things with the help of commercial space flight. It's not just about the possibility of every person to be an astronaut, but also, for example, travel between two points on the earth's surface. I think that such a journey - with incredible speed and much less harm to the environment - will be very soon. Our efforts can lead to a drastic increase in the number of satellites in Earth orbit. Bagodarya them 3 billion people without mobile today, will acquire a reliable internet connection. So we will not surrender. Now is not the best time, was a tragedy, but we get together and go forward.

- Customers have started to return the tickets after the accident?

- 3% of our customers have asked their money back - in my opinion, it is surprisingly small number. In addition, almost the same number of people expressed their desire to participate in the program as a gesture of support. So we do not care that people change their minds - they are very motivated. All our thoughts on how to make their flight as safely as possible.

- You invest in the consumer space, many of your colleagues, including Elon Musk - in commercial and industrial. Which approach is more promising in the future?

- We invest and there and there. Virgin Galactic The idea is based on the fact that we definitely know that millions would like to go into space if they could afford it or if prices fell to an appropriate level. When flights will become a reality, we will be able to use the proceeds from the space tism to build a rocket and, say, to colonize Mars, or to launch new satellites or extract minerals on asteroids. Targeting consumers makes the prospects of space exploration much more grandiose. States can no longer afford - or unwilling - to explore outer space. So first we must find people willing to pay for a space flight, or simply do not have the means to invest.

"We will be able to use the revenues from space tourism to launch new satellites, to colonize Mars or extract minerals on asteroids"

- In addition to the space you have invested in bathyscaphes for immersion in oceanic trenches. It is said about the seabed, we know even less than on the open space. There is what to look for?

- We really are developing machines that can go down into the deepest depression. The market we have: on the ocean floor were only three people, and in space - 500. Virgin Aquatic [Now Virgin Oceanic. - Approx. RBC]. It should be about the same things become Virgin Galactic. Quick success, however, awaitings should not be: to build such a device is extremely difficult. The pressure at the depth of 800 times greater than that encountered by the aircraft.

In the ocean, there really is something to see. They covered two-thirds of the planet's surface, there lives 80% of species unknown to us living beings. I do a lot of projects related to the conservation and rational use of this medium.

Business & Technology

- You have announced the award of $ 25 million for technology re-uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There is progress in this direction?

-. About 8 thousand people applied, of which we have selected a dozen ideas, followed with great interest. I can not say that someone close to that to win a prize in the near future. Because we must be able to capture carbon from the atmosphere as much as the whole of Europe produces in a year, or climate change is unstoppable.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current pace, one day we will have to come up with drastic measures to save the world from catastrophe. Therefore, we should do other things, such as Retrieve, pull a power source, in case no one wins the prize.

- Among your assets have a certain amount of bitcoins. Are you an optimist as regards digital currencies?

- I would not use the word "optimist". Our Space Company accepts bitcoins as payment for the tickets, and there is a robust commercial grain. Bitcoins are safe and have a cost. I like the idea of ​​Bitcoin and global currency at all, if only because it is one of the steps on the way to the borders of the destruction, and I want to destroy the border. On the other hand, is now bitcoins is quite difficult to use, so long as they do not replace the ruble or the dollar. Recently, there are e-wallets that simplify working with Bitcoin, and it can do a good job the last. Keep an eye on this area - it will change a lot, but not in the next few years.

"I hope one day Virgin Galactic will hit the market, but it is risky"

- For what else should follow? The following companies will be large consumer like you love technology?

- Processe company's changing the world. I think in 10 years we will have cars on autopilot and most taxis will travel without a driver. We will save on fuel prices fall. Technologies evolve extremely quickly. This can result, in particular, to ensure that people will be less work. We find ourselves in a situation where people will not work five days a week, three or four, while maintaining their income. So the companies that learn to occupy leisure time, a good future. Very quickly it will increase renewable energy. Solar generators already can compete efficiently with coal and oil. This market has fantastic prospects.

- Over the last month you have placed shares Virgin America and Virgin Money. Space business will ever public?

- I hope one day Virgin Galactic will hit the market, but for now it's too risky. Other companies may conduct placement. For example, the second largest network of clinics in England [Virgin Care. - Approx. RBC].

- Who inspires you?

- Many. Of those who are relatively young, it is Larry Page - absolutely amazing person and my hooshy friend. He lives on a nearby island and played a wedding in my Necker. He always offers a bold ambitious ideas. Google is already a pioneer in the development of unmanned vehicles. Paige once changed the world with their search engine and during the life many times to change it, I do not doubt it, and for the better. He has a very large fortune, and he finds it to good use.

- That is, when something Google will not be perceived as a search company, and how much more?

- No, it's still a search engine. Once I asked Larry, what is his job, and he replied: "I help people look for things." It's not this, it is important that he does not sit on his bank account, and trying to turn the world upside down. And I think this will do.

- A businessman should not sit on your bank account?

- In my opinion, it is very important that businesses spend on earnings. What is the difference cost WhatsApp [mobile messenger, Facebook bought for $ 19 billion -. Approx. RBC]. The main thing that this money from a lot of new WhatsApp'ov or - even better - a positive difference in Ee. Yachts ultimately unsatisfying. It is necessary to create jobs, to change the world.

Someone who likes a big risk, someone at risk for high stakes, but in any case, the entrepreneur must be a force for good. Previously, many businesses felt that they should not engage in social issues, business needs to only create added value and to earn a profit. I believe that this is not true.

Recently, we founded the organization B Team - along with business leaders, who believe that it is necessary to use business experience to solve the world's problems - political, economic and all. Because of these problems should solve everything. Not only Western businessmen, of course, but also Russian and Chinese.

Peace and War

- You spend a lot of time to solve the world's problems, non-commercial projects?

- Most of it. I am engaged in business 50 years and gained experience in various industries. I am a citizen of the world and try to use their business experience to help someone. I participate in the work of the organization The Elders, which dealsconflict resolution. I spend a lot of time. He founded the Carbon War Room, which estimates the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the production and trying to come up with a not too burdensome for business solutions to this problem. We have an organization that is struggling with the mass killings of marine animals. I've been involved, by the way, the Global Commission on Drug Policy - it could be interesting to in Russia. They include 15 former presidents and Kofi Annan, we conduct large-scale studies of the drug war.

Countries that consider medical drugs, rather than criminal problem, much more successfully compete with their distribution. In Portugal, for example, no one addict did not get behind bars for the past 12 years. It is sent to the hospital, the state provides him with a drug and sterile needles, and when he is ready to start rehabilitation and to discontinue the drug, the state helps with this. In just a few years, the number of heroin addicts there fell by 80%, a lot of people once again become productive members of society, crime decreased: drug addicts do not have to break into people's houses to get yourself a dose.
In Russia, I'm afraid all the way around. You have to addicts used the most draconian measures. As a result, you have an epidemic of AIDS and hepatitis. Inhuman approach to the problem simply does not work. Actually, this is the task of our committee - change approach.

I would like to say to the Russian authorities: if your brother or sister, your son will be a drug problem that you prefer - to help him or sent to prison? I am sure that the judges that send drug addicts to prison, would prefer to help their children, and do not lock them. The same applies to marijuana. It is necessary to deregulate it. If someone smokes too much - to help him and not put behind bars. To do with these people just as we do with alcoholics or smokers.

"The only benefit of war - the rise in popularity, which has always provided the leader, pounding his fists on his chest"

- Recently you said that mankind should be 100 years of the world to realize their full potential. Is that possible? The amount of violence is reduced?

- Over the past 70 years, the number of violencein the world declined every decade, although it is still very much. In part, we owe the terrible mistakes of the West. The Vietnam War was a hideous mistake, the war in Iraq was a hideous mistake, and we need to draw lessons from those events. I also think that what is happening in Ukraine - hideous mistake.

When did the events in the Donbass, we have collected a number of businessmen from Russia, Ukraine and the West, to tell our governments that we do not want to return to the mentality of the Cold War. It will not work for millions of people worldwide. Russia needs to be part of Europe, we should be as close as possible. It talks about the fact that Russia has crept too close to West or West to Russia, obsolete. The only thing that matters - we trade with each other. All Russian businessmen, with whom I have spoken agree (even if some are not aloud), we must converge, not diverge.

- War in the Ukraine - the greatest contemporary problem?

- What is happening between Russia and Europe - perfect disaster. We need to bwhether to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, glad that Russia and Europe does not share more than the Iron Curtain, but it turned out like this. In the past, a situation like this huge bloody war began. I do not think that now there are idiots who are ready to go that far, but in politics you can never be sure.

Any further intrusion into Ukraine of Russian troops or separatists, backed by Russia, will only aggravate the damage. It is necessary that Russia withdraw all its tanks. I know, you deny the presence of tanks, but if they are there, they should withdraw. Russia should make it clear that it will not be anything similar in Europe. Invasion and the following sanctions - this is not what they want people of Russia, and not what he wants the rest of the world. The only benefit of war - the rise in popularity, which has always provided the leader, pounding his fists on his chest. But the losses are incomparable with the win. Europe and Russia have to go to meet each other, however, it requires a goodwill gesture on the part of Putin.

Now there is a greater problem than the war. In the end, it will end the kataTrophies for the Russian people. OPEC has agreed to reduce supply, and oil fell on the third. For you, there is nothing good there. It would be nice if a little Putin turned the clock back.

- The future of Russia sad?

- I think it's sad future if we do not agree to transfer the arrow back, do not draw a line in the sand - and a step behind her. Living in Russia, do you think that Russian tanks are not there, but they are there, and the world is not deceived on this score. Everyone is afraid that tanks can go further. When was the Crimea, all live with it, even to understand it. But subsequent events - this is too much. If the escalation continues, it will throw Russia 25-30 years ago.

Business