If "Two and a Half Men" doesn't work out for Ashton Kutcher, there's always a second career as an astronaut. That's right, the actor has signed up to travel into outer space with Virgin Galactic, Virgin CEO Richard Branson announced on Monday. Kutcher, 34, is actually the 500th "customer" to pony up the $200,000 cost. "I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him," Branson wrote on his blog. "He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself."
Although Kutcher hasn't yet commented on his spaceflight, but he did re-tweet Branson's blog post lauding the actor's interest in Virgin Galactic, which was founded in 2005. "Ashton is joining a fast expanding group of true pioneers who are on their way to a life changing experience and a place in the history books," added Branson on his site. "It's great to have him on board."
Kutcher joins a slew of celebrity passengers, including former "Dallas" actress Victoria Principal, physicist Steven Hawking, and reportedly Russell Brand. There has been no date announced yet for when Kutcher or any of the other stars will blast off into space, but it will be only after Branson and his family take the inaugural flight. After, that the trips will start off at one a week before working up to two times daily. "We are guided by safety and so will ensure that everything is just as safe as it can possibly be before we start commercial services — particularly as I will be on the first commercial flight with my kids."
Before any of the celeb astronauts can take flight, they must first go through a "Pre-Flight Experience Program," which includes a three-day preparation onsite at the spaceport in New Mexico to make sure they are mentally and physically fit to fly. Once they pass that training, they will then be one of six passengers aboard the 60-foot-long spaceship — which will have two pilots — and will get to enjoy the three-and-a-half hour suborbital journey, which includes six minutes of weightlessness.
Enjoy the ride, Ashton!
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