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Richard Branson  (Source: thejanedough.com)
His spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, is set to start making commercial flights in a year

Richard Branson is hoping to be one of the first humans to populate Mars as space travel enters an era of commercial flight.

Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines, discussed his future space plans for both his spaceflight company -- Virgin Galactic -- and his potential settlement on Mars.

Possibly in the next year, Virgin Galactic will lead the shift into commercial spaceflight, taking anyone who can pay $200,000 on a two-hour trip beyond Earth.

"It's going to be absolutely incredible because finally people...ordinary people will be able to have a chance to become astronauts, go into space," said Branson. "There are only 500 people who have ever been into space. They are the privileged astronauts...we just want to enable people to become astronauts and experience it."

He went on to say that "hundreds of thousands" of people will take part in the commercial space program. In fact, Branson and his children will be the first people on a Virgin Galactic flight next year.

Commercial spaceflight comes at a time when U.S. government space agency NASA has retired its space shuttle fleet and temporarily suspended a way for American astronauts to get to the International Space Station (except via Russian Soyuz rockets). This is where the private sector has stepped in, where companies like California-based SpaceX has since shipped its Dragon capsule to the ISS for the delivery of supplies. Virgin Galactic is another member of the private space sector, but it is focusing more on commercial flights that anyone can take.

Branson went on to describe the future of American spaceflight, saying that people will eventually settle on Mars -- and he hopes to be one of the first.

"In my lifetime, I'm determined to being apart of starting a population on Mars," said Branson. "I think it is absolutely realistic. It will happen."

Branson isn't alone in dreams of life on Mars. SpaceX is also developing a reusable orbital launch system that would make spaceflight affordable and permanent Mars settlement a reality.

Source: CBS News



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RE: Ordinary people?
By aliasfox on 9/21/2012 2:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
- Millions of homes are sold each year.
- Tens of thousands of Ferraris, Astons, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, McLarens, Maseratis and the like are sold each year, and millions of Audis, Mercedes, BMWs, Lexuses, Porsches etc on top of that.
- Millions of kids are starting $50k/year college/university right now

$200k is achievable by the masses if they so choose. All someone would have to do is trade four Audi A6s for four Corollas and that's $200k saved right there - sure, that may be 20 years before you end up saving that much, but it *is* possible.

Some people may want to drop $200k on a year-long world tour when they retire. Some people would be satisfied with a two day trip to Nevada and up into space.


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