Last year, there were calls to blast Justin Bieber into space. No, not because the lyrics of “Baby” were causing annoyance, but because getting celebrities to book rides into suborbital space should boost awareness of space travel and increase investment in the burgeoning space tourism industry. Well, that’s the idea, anyway.
So if you ever wanted a space age shot of adrenalin to the collective veins of teenage girls across globe, the poppy buzz is about to begin.
“Great to hear @justinbieber & @scooterbraun are latest @virgingalactic future astronauts,” Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic, tweeted on Wednesday. “Congrats, see you up there!”
In reply, the 19-year-old Canadian pop sensation tweeted: “@richardbranson @scooterbraun @virgingalactic let’s shoot a music video in SPACE!! #nextLEVEL”
Whether the artist’s wish to record a music video during the flight of SpaceShipTwo will happen or not, he sent that tweet to over 40 million Twitter followers — a fact that no doubt pleased Branson. Bieber’s agent, Scooter Braun, appears to be along for the ride, too.
Virgin Galactic has yet to begin launching fee-paying tourists, but it hopes to begin doing so next year, when Branson and his family will take the first flight.
The suborbital joyrides, that cost $200,000 per seat, are out of the price range of the majority of “Beliebers,” but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a demand. So far, over 600 people have placed deposits including celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DeCaprio.
The two-hour trip inside a SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, ferried by the WhiteKnightTwo mothership before being dropped at 46,000 ft at which point the spaceship’s engines take over, will blast the six SpaceShipTwo passengers to just beyond the edge of space — an altitude of 62 miles, a height known as the Kármán line. After a few minutes of weightlessness, the vehicle will return to Earth like a conventional aircraft, landing at the New Mexico Space Port, where Virgin Galactic is currently the only tenant.
Image: SpaceShipTwo during its historic supersonic flight test over the Mojave Desert, Calif., in April. Credit: Virgin Galactic