The landing of the Atlantis space shuttle that put an end to 500 million miles of space travel on Thursday has sparked lights in Billionaire Richard Branson's entrepreneurial mind as he prepares to make space tourism possible.
Sir. Richard Branson hopes to take tourists into space on his Virgin Galactic Mission by 2013. There is a commercial future for space travel, hundreds of thousands would go if they could afford it, he told the BBC adding that space hotels were also likely in the next 10-20 years.
Branson, who first became fascinated by space when he saw the moon landing, registered Virgin Galactic in the 1990's. On May.4 2011, Virgin Galactic completed its 7th test run of SpaceShipTwo, the world's first commercial spaceship, which marked a major milestone on the path to commercial operations.
Despite Branson's efforts to make the service affordable, the price of a seat to space is currently marked at $200,000 per seat, making it still a dream for most, but Branson believes that the price will come down as the industry develops. Currently Virgin Galactic has banked more than $ 55 million in reservations, CBS news reports.
In his vision for the space mission, Branson told CBS that six passengers would board in a private jet-sized space ship where they would be launched into space travelling three times the speed of sound.
Once in space, they will unbuckle they will float around and look through these giant windows back at earth and they will have the biggest smiles on their faces, Branson said.
A Poll released by CNN hours after NASA's final space program landing showed that most Americans still think their country should play a dominant role in space exploration.