Abu Dhabi-backed spaceship said to host Lady Gaga wedding

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Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the space tourism venture part-owned by Abu Dhabi, could be set to host US singer Lady Gaga’s wedding when she performs the first music concert in space next year, reports claimed.

The 28-year-old singer, who will play in Dubai in September, is to blast into outer space for a special concert as part of a music festival it is staging in the US in 2015.

The New York-based singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, will board the Virgin Galactic space ship and travel into outer space and sing one track at zero gravity, US Weekly magazine reported last year.

The stunt will be part of Zero G Colony, a three-day hi-tech festival set to take place at Spaceport America in New Mexico and which will be staged approximately six months after the first Virgin Galactic commercial flight, which is due to take place in late 2014.

However, reports claim the star will use the opportunity to get married to her actor boyfriend Taylor Kinney.

“Gaga and Taylor want to make a pledge for life, and think the space flight is too big an opportunity to pass up. It would be typical of her to have the least conventional ‘wedding’ ever,” a source was quoted as saying by the Daily Star newspaper.

“Of course it would be a simulated-style marriage as there wouldn’t be a priest or religious figure there. But they don’t care about convention, it’s more about making each other a life-long promise,” the report added.

Virgin Galactic, in which Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments owns a 32 percent stake, said more than 500 people have put their names down for the $200,000 trip into space, which will last for around two hours and travel 60 miles high.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told Arabian Business in 2012 the company had seen “fantastic” interest from customers looking to book seats on its spacecraft and is looking to increase its revenue to around $500m per annum within the next few years.

“A few weeks ago we announced our 500 customer deposit, at $200,000 a ticket it signifies a milestone of over $100 million in future revenue. That business is just one piece of the overall commercial space travel market, [which is] worth billions of dollars overall,” Whitesides said.

“We think the target market that we will be looking at soon will be the order of magnitude of about $500 million a year,” he estimated.

Whitesides said a third of its customers were based in the US, but spanned nearly 50 countries. Despite the global downturn, he said interest in space travel was still strong.

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