“Today” announced Friday (Nov. 8) that it will be broadcasting the first Virgin Galactic commercial space flight in 2014, which Sir Richard Branson says he’s very excited about.
“We’re delighted we’re going to be working with you lot … it’s going to be incredibly exciting, eight years in the making. It’s going to be a beautiful baby when it’s finally finished,” says Branson.
The exact date is not yet known. There are still tests to be completed, but it should be happening some time in roughly the next six months.
“The last test we did broke the sound barrier, so that was a great milestone. Over the next couple months we’ll be getting up to two times the sound barrier. We’re doing the final rocket tests and by early next year we’ll do our first test ride right to the edge of space,” says Branson.
His son Sam Branson, who is going to be on the first flight alongside Richard, adds, “I certainly trust the team, they’re an amazing group of people who are slaving away to make this a reality for people around the world. … I’ve been brought up around [my dad’s] crazy ballooning adventures and stuff, so space was just the next frontier for him pushing himself and exploring the world.”
Richard says that despite the $250,000 price tag for the early flights, they’ve got hundreds of people already booking tickets.
“We’ve got 700 people signed up,” says Branson. “They’re the pioneers that have enabled us to do this. All sorts of people from Leonardo DiCaprio to Stephen Hawking, from one extreme to the other.”