Richard Branson hopes to launch a vessel into space within the next 12 months, kicking off an era of commercial space travel.
His company, Virgin Galactic, hopes to one day send people into space and launch satellites for a fraction of the cost of government-run programs, as well as eventually offering high-speed intercontinental flights.
“About an hour between Los Angeles and London is not completely out of the question”. But it will take many years before the company can offer such a service.
In the meantime, Virgin has sold some 430 tickets for space travel — at $200,000 a pop — for an estimated $86 million.
The company will take tourists on sub orbital flights before eventually soaring higher. Branson has said in the past he hopes to one day build a hotel in space.