The brainchild of British billionaire Sir Richard Branson's space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic has always been in news, sometimes for its James Bond-style flight suits or for announcing David Mackay as the first pilot who would be flying the spacecraft in his maiden voyage in 2013. Now, Virgin boss Richard Branson has announced that the celebrity star Ashton Kutcher will be propelled into orbit aboard Virgin Galactic, making him the 500th customer to sign up for pioneering space ship.
Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur known for its trademark publicity stunts wrote on his blog, “I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him. 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.” The actor and pioneer of social media, Ashton Kutcher who made micro-blogging cool after becoming the first guy to reach 1 million Twitter follower count, can now add this space trip to his growing list of accolades.
Virgin Galactic, which has recently seen the completion of its spaceport in New Mexico, is hoping to begin suborbital joyrides in SpaceShipTwo, in the coming year 2013. SpaceShipTwo, which can be thought of as an air launched glider with a rocket motor along with couple of extra technical systems for spaceflight is designed to carry six fee-paying passengers along with two pilots. Further, the WhiteKnightTwo mother-ship will carry the SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 50,000 ft, where the spacecraft will be dropped and its rocket engine will get activated to blast it into the thermosphere at an altitude of over 68 miles. The Virgin Galactic passengers will buy the ticket for this pioneering suborbital 2.5 hour flight for $200,000 a pop.
Though, Ashton Kutcher has been allocated the 500th ticket; he is not the only celebrity to enjoy this space-trip, but he’s among dozens of Hollywood types, scientist, international entrepreneurs and space buffs who have made deposits to be among the first to reach the edge of the earth. It was even reported that Seth Shostak, SETI senior astronomer have suggested that more celebrities should do suborbital flights to increase the exposure of space tourism. He even singled out teen-pop idol and singer Justin Bieber as someone who should aboard on the commercial flights.
Considering the bright future of space tourism, the iconic adult-magazine company, Playboy has also dreamed up a futuristic vision to launch a Playboy club in space in conjunction with the pioneer space tourism company Virgin Galactic. The playboy club, situated on a station in orbit will feature a zero-gravity dance club, an exclusive restaurant for fine dining and a casino with ‘human roulette’.