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Branson aiming to build hotel in space

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:12 pm
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Rhiannon Edward scotsman.com: SIR Richard Branson has said one of the next projects he wants to undertake is building a Virgin hotel in space.

The multi-millionaire entrepreneur is working on plans for Virgin Galactic Airways and has designers building five spacecraft ready to take passengers into orbit.

Speaking on US talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, the businessman revealed that the public could be boarding one of the craft by 2007. He also said that he would be accompanying his children on the inaugural flight into space – just to prove to potential customers that it is safe.

He added: “A spacecraft that can go into space, come back again and fly into space again the following day has been developed – we have licensed the technology.

“The brilliant engineer has agreed to build five spacecraft for us and we will be able to send passengers into space in two and a half to three years.”

Branson said the cost of the trip will be expensive to begin with, but will fall as more and more passengers buy trips.

He said: “Initially it will be expensive – just over £100,000 a trip, but a lot less than what people might have thought only a few years ago.

“If enough people sign up – and the indications are that enough people will – we will be able to start getting the price down. When our children grow up they will be able to say ‘Do I want to go on a cruise liner this weekend or go into space?’

Branson also revealed his ambitious plans for inhabiting space. “We have pledged to invest any money we make from this into trying to do orbital rather than suborbital flights and maybe build a hotel in space.

“Then we just want to push the boundaries forward to space.” He added he was confident the craft would be safer than current rocket technology. Our craft turns into a giant shuttlecock and drifts back into the atmosphere. The risks inherent to it are much, much less than a NASA space rocket.”

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