The first commercial space flight in history has never been so close. On May 28th., the F.A.A. ( U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ), gave its authorisation to Virgin Galactic to carry passengers into the thermosphere at more than 100 km ( 60 miles ) altitude. This agreement is really about how the SpaceShipTwo shuttle flights will be incorporated safely into the national air traffic control.
The first suborbital flight from its base in New Mexico could take place before the end of the year. Richard Branson, the founder of the space tourism company, together with his son and daughter, will be the first occupants of the shuttle, but the mystery remains as to the identity of the other three who will be their fellow passengers on board.
To date, more than 700 candidates from 48 different countries already have their ticket into space. Among them, certain showbiz celebrities such as : Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Kate Winslet, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Since few people have any idea regarding the sensations of weightlessness, all passengers will have the pleasure of undergoing three days intensive medical tests and simulator training at the Spaceport America base, plus of course a tour of the aircraft in the programme. At 183,000 euros ( 250,000 dollars) per person, rest assured, full board accommodation is included. The icing on the cake of course, is that after the flight, you will be awarded an official suborbital flight certificate, thus adding your name to the annals of space travel.