Mr Branson told The Sunday Times that the visit took place at around 2.30am on 11 July 2021.
“I woke up two hours earlier than I was meant to and jumped out of bed, and then actually realiszed I’d got the wrong time but by then I was wide awake,” he said.
After waking up, Mr Branson went to the kitchen in his residence close to the Virgin spaceport in the American West to have some coffee, where Mr Musk was waiting.
“Basically, he’s a night animal. He doesn’t really sleep at night and gets his sleep in the daytime,” Mr Branson told the paper. “We made a pot of tea and sat outside under the stars and caught up.”
On the morning of 11 July 2021, Mr Branson tweeted an image of the two of them in the kitchen.
Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready.
Watch #Unity22 launch and livestream TODAY at 7:30 am PT | 10:30 am ET | 3:30 pm BST.@virgingalactic @elonmusk https://t.co/1313b4RAKI pic.twitter.com/FRQqrQEbH8
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
“Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready,” he wrote.
Mr Musk joined Mr Branson at the launch to watch him take off.
“Congratulations, beautiful flight!” he tweeted to Mr Branson after the flight.
Virgin Galactic’s next spaceflight is set to take place this summer. Mr Branson told The Sunday Times that he would be “delighted” if Mr Musk could fly at some point, but added that “he’s obviously got his hands full at the moment,” in reference to Mr Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter.
Mr Branson said that Mr Musk is “tremendously smart and even more driven,” adding that he admired Mr Musk’s “talent and his willingness to take calculated risks”.
He lauded Mr Musk for his determination in the face of adversity.
“He’s the Henry Ford of his generation,” Mr Branson added.