Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic have launched an international search for the boy who inspired the business mogul to pursue his own commercial space flight business.

The Virgin founder appeared on the BBC's "Going Live" in 1988 and answered a call from a boy named Shihan Musafer, who asked him "Have you ever thought about going into space?"

"I'd love to go into space, as I think pretty well everybody watching this show would love to go to space,” a then 39-year-old Branson replied. “When you see those magnificent pictures in space and the incredible views, I think there could be nothing nicer. So if you're building a spacecraft, I'd love to come with you on it."

In a blog post, Branson says that it was immediately after that call that he set about registering the name Virgin Galactic. 

"26 years later, we have built the world’s first commercial spaceline," he writes. "We are nearing the end of our powered test flight programme, have more than 700 future astronauts on board and are incredibly excited about the build up to our first space flight.

"Now, we’d love to track down Shihan to say a personal thank you for helping to inspire the idea with that phone call. We want to offer Shihan the chance to join Virgin Galactic as a VIP guest to witness a spaceflight. Can you help us? If you think you can help with the mission to find #shihanmusafer, tweet @richardbranson and @virgingalactic."

A quick glance at Twitter shows at least one promising lead — a man by the name of Shihan Musafer whom two people claim now lives in Sydney, Australia. 

Whether it's the same guy is anyone's guess, but he's likely in for a phone call of some kind from the Virgin reps shortly. 

Check out a video showcasing the phone call from 1988 and the innovation Virgin Galactic has done since then. Whatever the outcome, you have to admit this is a clever piece of marketing. 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Are you the kid who inspired Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic in the '80s?
If so, the billionaire would like to personally thank you and invite you to witness a space launch.