Virgin Galactic Opens Registration For Commercial Space Flights
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Companies have been vying for some time to be the first to take passengers into space.
But Virgin Galactic has opened registration for future voyages following a spike in demand among the general public.
The travel giant, which launched its first test flight back in 2018, says it has been inundated with interest, with thousands looking to get in on the action.
According to reports, some 600 tickets have already been sold for the first official flight, which is set to take place later this year.
But today the firm, which reported losses $73m (£55.6m) for the last quarter, confirmed it would be taking $1,000 (£773) refundable deposits ahead of the next set of tickets being released.
The 'One Small Step' initiative will see the names of those who apply put on a waiting list until seats on future flights are made available.
While details and prices for those trips have not yet been disclosed, if you wish to apply, you can do so by visiting the official website, here.
Speaking about the announcement, Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic's Commercial Director, said: "We have been greatly encouraged by the ongoing and increasing demand seen from around the world for personal spaceflight.
"One Small Step allows us to help qualify and build confidence in our direct sales pipeline, as well as to ensure that those who are most keen to make reservations, are able to do so at the earliest opportunity."
Some of those who have already signed up and bought tickets for the very first flight include Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Justin Bieber, who forked out an eye-watering $250,000 (£192,000) to land a place on the ground-breaking trip.
But as mentioned above, Sir Richard Branson and his team aren't the only ones looking to push the envelope of commercial travel.
SpaceX, Elon Musk's spacecraft manufacturing company, recently announced it had teamed up with a Colorado research lab to send hemp and coffee plants up to the International Space Station next month (March).
Why, you may ask? Well, it's not just for LOLs - it's for a genuine scientific experiment, testing what happens to the plants in a zero-gravity environment.
Front Range Biosciences, an agricultural biotech company that breeds genetically consistent hemp and coffee varieties, partnered with the University of Colorado and a tech startup called Space Cells for the project.
More than 480 plant cell cultures will be launched into space aboard the SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight, which is set for March 2020.
They'll then be transported to the space station, where they will be contained in a special incubator with regulated temperature for around 30 days.