Elon Musk visited Sir Richard Branson during the night

Sir Richard Branson had a surprise visitor credit:Bang Showbiz
Sir Richard Branson had a surprise visitor credit:Bang Showbiz

Elon Musk paid a surprise visit to Sir Richard Branson in the middle of the night before the Virgin tycoon went into space.

The 72-year-old businessman was unable to sleep the night before his Virgin Galactic rocket plane travelled to the edge of space in July 2021 so he went downstairs and was shocked to find his friend and rival in his kitchen with his baby X Æ A-12 after being let into the house by a family member.

He said: “I think it was about 2.30am. I woke up two hours earlier than I was meant to and jumped out of bed, and then actually realised I’d got the wrong time but by then I was wide awake.

“I went to the kitchen for a cup of coffee to start the day and Elon had decided to surprise us. He was there with his baby. Basically, he’s a night animal. He doesn’t really sleep at night and gets his sleep in the daytime.

"We made a pot of tea and sat outside under the stars and caught up.”

While Elon owns SpaceX - the world’s most successful commercial launch company — he booked a ticket for a Virgin Galactic flight more than a decade ago, but Richard doesn't expect to see him on board one of the rockets any time soon because he's busy after taking over Twitter.

He told the Sunday Times magazine: “I would be delighted to see him aboard but he’s obviously got his hands full at the moment.

“We haven’t done any discounts for space, not even for Elon.”

Despite similar business ventures, Richard insists he and the Tesla founder have a good balance between friendship and rivalry.

He said: “Elon and I are two very different people but have gone through a lot together. It is important to remain friends with your rivals in the evenings and compete hard, and fairly, in the daytime.”