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Richard Branson confirms Virgin Galactic's first space tourism flight will launch next year with him on board

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Richard Branson has long said that he'd be on board Virgin Galactic's first commercial space tourism flight, and he's now confirmed that will take place sometime next year with his two adult children along for the ride (a bit of a delay from the company's original 2011 target). That trip will of course be made with the company's SpaceShipTwo craft, which has already completed a number of test flights, and which is capable of flying 100 kilometers (or just over 60 miles) above the Earth for a planned two and a half hour flight with five minutes of weightlessness. As the AP notes, some 529 people have already signed up for the $200,000 per person rides into space, each of whom will have to take part in a week of training prior to their trip. Bookings can still be made on Virgin Galactic's website.

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