Richard Branson Gets Space Hero's Welcome in NYC

Sir Richard Branson appears to still be on cloud nine — or whatever number it is at 55 miles above sea level — and now the trailblazing billionaire’s autograph is an even hotter commodity.

The Virgin Galactic boss and newly minted astronaut was making his way to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday in NYC when he got a hero’s welcome from a group of admirers … most of them toting Sharpies and pics of Sir Richard.

He made his way over to greet his fans and sign some photos, telling them his recent voyage was “special” … and he snapped lots of great photos.

Based on what we saw for ourselves Sunday — when Branson and his fellow travelers launched into sub-orbital space aboard the VSS Unity — we believe him, and we’re pretty jealous.

Of course, Richard might be the first business magnate to fly commercial all the way to zero gravity … but Jeff Bezos is right on his heels. He’s set to take off July 20.

The Virgin founder didn’t have anything to say about beating the Amazon founder in the billionaire space race, but he really didn’t have to … the look on his face says it all.

Branson’s warm welcome in New York does pale in comparison to some other astronauts — the ticker-tape parade for the crew of Apollo 11 back in 1969 was pretty epic.

But, ya know … that space race was a tad more important, and went a tad bit further than Sir Richard’s.

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