CEO Interview: Richard Branson on space travel

Associated Press
In this Oct. 22, 2010, image, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, left, claps during a runway dedication ceremony at Spaceport America in Upham, N.M. Branson has vowed to be one of the first passengers when Virgin Galactic begins commercial space tourism flights from the spaceport. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

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British billionaire and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson's dream of reaching space may soon come to fruition in a remote part of southern New Mexico.

Branson, the head of Virgin Group — which counts airlines, entertainment and mobile communications among its many businesses — has vowed to be one of the first passengers when commercial space flights begin at the taxpayer-funded Spaceport America in nine to 18 months.

Virgin Galactic will be the anchor tenant and plans tourists flights that will include about five minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth that until now only astronauts have experienced.

Some 380 aspiring space tourists have made ticket deposits totaling more than $50 million.

Branson ultimately aims to get the $200,000 ticket price down to a more affordable level.

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