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Home / News / Richard Branson announces Virgin Oceanic deep-sea madness

Richard Branson announces Virgin Oceanic deep-sea madness

The intrepid rich beardy bloke plans to go deeper than any man has gone before

Richard Branson hasn’t even finished conquering space yet and he’s already got a new pet project. He’s only gone and commissioned the first ever piloted submarine with “full ocean depth” capabilities to kick off his Virgin Oceanic expedition.

That’s right, him and that winning smile of his will be cruising deeper than military submarines operate (1020m), deeper than the Titanic’s final resting place (3810m) and deeper than any shipwreck discovered (5,762m).

The plan is for Branson and explorer Chris Welsh to reach the five deepest points in each of the five oceans, including the 11,034m deep Marina Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Each solo pilot will be doing it in 8,000 pounds of carbon fibre and titanium genius design from Graham Hawkes. 

As it “flies” above the ocean floor collecting video and data, the quartz dome of this one-person sub will be under 13 million pounds of pressure – that’s the weight of three space shuttles, apparently.

And if anything goes wrong as Branson and Welsh divvy up the oceans between them, no rescue team will be able to reach them. Gulp. Branson quipped, “If we survive it, we’ll hopefully have better conversations at the dinner table in future.”

The idea is that after this trial, Virgin Oceanic will be taking tourists to the ocean floor while Virgin Galactic is flying them into space. Expect to sell your house for the price of a ticket.

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

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