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Sunday 15th Nov 1981

requested by P. Harris of Conway

with the Reverend Daniel O'Shelves
the Reverend Daniel o'Shelves


Branson Parachutes onto Moon

25.02.03 09:48:15 GMT Reporter: Oberon Kenobi

Beardy billionaire Sir Richard Branson made it into the record books today by becoming the first ever person to parachute onto the moon.

Branson, a keen amateur space expert, says he first had the idea for the daredevil stunt two years ago, when he discovered that the moon was scheduled to pass directly beneath the Earth on February 24th this year.

Preparations for the amazing feat have included the construction of a special antipodean gantry, from which the hirsute businessman could launch himself at the passing satellite, and a strenuous training programme in a kind of zero gravity barn.

Crowds of spectators gathered in the Erinsborough area of Queensland yesterday to witness the historic event as Branson, clad only in a crimson spacesuit and matching bobble hat, gave a cheery wave and prepared for the moment of perigee.

One giant leap: Branson "over the moon" yesterday
The stunt called for split second timing: Too early, and Sir Richard could crash into the wrong bit of moon and die, too late and he could miss the lunar surface completely and land on a star.

As the moon sped by, like a huge rock in space, Branson leapt from the southern hemisphere and found himself plummeting towards the barren grey landscape of Earth's closest friend.

But even as the world's astronomers watched through their high tech microscopes, it could be seen that he was in difficulty: The heavily padded thermal mittens of his custom made spacesuit were apparently making it difficult for the shit train company boss to successfully pull the ripcord and deploy his parachute.

After a few tense minutes of frantic tugging, however, the Virgin man finally managed to discharge his silk.

For the last few fathoms he drifted peacefully downwards through space, eventually making a textbook landing on a small desert island in the middle of the Sea of Tranquility.

According to a recently received mobile telephone call from Sir Richard, he is fit and well and looking forward to returning to Earth when it next passes beneath the moon in 2009.

Branson says he intends to spend the next six years sheltering from the hostile lunar weather and writing poems in a crater.


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