Virgin Galactic to launch tourist space flights starting at eye-watering £324k

Virgin Galactic is launching space tourist flights next year with ticket prices starting at £324,000.

Sir Richard Branson’s firm received ­approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration for a full commercial launch licence in June – paving the way for wannabe astronauts to buy a ride to the stars.

Tickets are available in single seats as well as multi- and full-flight packages, with “early hand-raisers” being given first priority.

Chief executive Michael Colglazier said the move to ­reopen ticket sales stems from a surge in consumer interest following successful space flights in May and July.

He said: “As we endeavour to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new global industry and consumer experience.”

Sir Richard, who was a passenger on July’s flight, claimed the experience was “everything I could have possibly dreamt of”.

He added: “It was a lifetime dream. Dreams don’t often turn into reality, and it was just wonderful.

“One of the most ridiculous moments is, having said a few words, just unbuckling and just drifting off one’s feet, then floating on top of the roof and looking down at our beautiful Earth, and seeing other people floating past you and realising, ‘I’m an astronaut’.”

The company says its next space flight is planned for late September.

Branson invested 16 years and more than £1billion in order to make the trip to the edge of space, paving the way for the potentially lucrative space tourism industry.

Getting to July's launch was not a smooth ride, setbacks included a catastrophic crash in the Mojave Desert which killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury and seriously injured pilot Peter Siebold.

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