Abu Dhabi spaceship to blast TV star to space

Virgin Galactic in “early talks” with Simon Cowell’s ‘Britain Got Talent’ TV show
Virgin Galactic is the world’s first commercial space travel operator. Flight tickets are priced from $200,000
By Shane McGinley
Wed 15 Feb 2012 09:11 AM

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the commercial spaceline part-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments, is in “early talks” to fly the winner of Simon Cowell’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ UK show into orbit for the world’s first ever performance in space.

A spokesperson from talkbackThames, the UK production arm of TV conglomerate FremantleMedia, confirmed to Arabian Business the plans were still at an early stage and a final decision has not yet been made.

The talks came about after it was revealed Branson’s sister company Virgin Media had signed a multi-million dollar deal to sponsor the UK-based reality TV entertainment show, which is fronted by X Factor judge and record boss Simon Cowell.

“I love the idea that if they are up for it they have the option of performing in space,” Cowell told the Daily Star at the start of the latest auditions for the show.

“It’s tens of millions of pounds but Richard [Branson] genuinely is up for doing it. I am being serious.

“Of course we have to think about the details. If you’re a juggler we’ll need to make heavier balls. If it had been a few years ago Susan Boyle could have been singing Unchained Melody in front of the whole planet!”

Abu Dhabi state-backed investment firm Aabar Investments took a 32 percent stake in Virgin Galactic in 2009.

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