British tycoon SIR Richard Branson promised tourists trips to space within three years at yesterday's (27SEP04) launch of the world's first space flight company.

The 54-year-old has spent a staggering $109 million (GBP60 million) on the VIRGIN GALACTIC project and the first fleet of five craft will pay $207,000 (GBP115,000) for a two to three hour trip to a Space hotel in 2007, where they will experience four minutes of weightlessness.

Branson explains, "Virgin Galactic will be run as a business. But as a business with a sole purpose of making space travel more affordable to people throughout the world.

"We will reinvest funds raised over the first few years of flight, striving constantly to lower prices. Those privileged space pioneers who can afford to take our first flights will bring the dream of travel for millions, close to reality."

28/09/2004 09:25