First, he took a dive to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Then he saved birds from extinction and set records for wind sailing the English Channel. Now, eccentric billionaire tycoon Richard Branson has a new unbelievable adventure planned: Next year, he and his family will become the first space tourists on Virgin Galactic's maiden voyage.
Branson made the announcement today at the Farnborough Air Show in Southwest England, where he unveiled a full-size replica of the six-passenger SS2 spaceship he hopes to ride in. When the actual SS2 is ready to blast off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, Branson and his immediate family will be the first tour group to make the 60-mile, two-hour trip to space.
Because Branson is the one backing the Virgin Galactic venture, he will likely get to get to ride for free. Future travelers won't be so lucky — the price for a two-hour trip into space is just around $200,000. A total of 529 people have already signed up to become citizen astronauts, including actor Ashton Kutcher and physicist Stephen Hawking.
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