UAE-backed Virgin Galactic to stage Lady Gaga gig in space

Performance will be part of a special hi-tech music festival in 2015 - report
Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic, the space tourism arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
By Shane McGinley
Sun 10 Nov 2013 03:20 PM

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic, the space tourism arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is to blast singer Lady Gaga into outer space for a special concert as part of a music festival it is staging in the US in 2015, it was reported.

New York-based singer Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, will board the Virgin Galactic space ship and travel into outer space and sing one track at zero gravity, US Weekly magazine said.

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.

"She has to do a month of vocal training because of the atmosphere," a source told US Weekly.

The event will be "like nothing the world has seen before" and "Gaga has taken out a ridiculous life insurance policy" in case anything goes wrong, the source added.

The firm, in which the UAE'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.

This weekend, media giant NBC Universal also announced it had struck a deal with Branson and Virgin Galactic to televise the inaugural commercial space flight of SpaceShipTwo, which will blast off from Spaceport American in New Mexico with Branson and his two children, Holly and Sam, aboard.

“Without a doubt, Sir Richard and his children taking the first commercial flight into space will go down in history as one of the most memorable events on television,” said Sharon Scott, President and General Manager of Peacock Productions, which will produce the live event.

“Virgin Galactic is thrilled that NBCUniversal will join us on our exciting first journey to space,” Branson said. “In this first chapter of commercial space travel, we will help make space accessible and inspire countless more people to join us in the pursuit of space exploration and science innovation.”

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017 01:27 PM GST

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