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Tue 11 Mar 2014 01:20 PM

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Virgin Galactic's Branson reveals space hotel idea

Founder of space travel firm, part-owned by Abu Dhabi, says he’ll build Virgin hotels in space if flights are successful

Virgin Galactic's Branson reveals space hotel idea

Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has revealed he wants to build hotels in space if his space travel company Virgin Galactic is successful.

Virgin Galactic - backed by the Abu Dhabi government’s Aabar Investments - is expected to launch its first space flight within three months, marking the first commercial trip into outer space in history.

Branson, who also spoke about his plans to launch commercial space flights between London and Australia during a recent trip to Dubai, said if the flights are commercially successful there were numerous plans for space-related enterprises.

“If we can get enough people wanting to fly [to space] we can start building Virgin hotels in space, we can start doing trips to Mars, we can colonise Mars, we can start pulling asteroids back to Earth to see what minerals they have got in them,” he said during an interview on The Jonathan Ross show in the UK on Saturday.

Branson already has several accommodation offerings under the brand Virgin Hotels.

While in Dubai last month, the Virgin Group founder said Virgin Galactic would one day rival Dubai’s Emirates Airline in offering long-distance travel by air.

Branson said he expected regular passenger services within about 12 years, offering an alternative to aeroplane travel.

Abu Dhabi also will potentially play a key role in the future of space travel after Aabar Investments bought a 35 percent stake in Virgin Galactic in 2009 for $300m.

The company is planning to build a space port at Abu Dhabi, which would make the emirate a global air space hub, although Branson said the plan was several years away and would require US export approval.

Flights on board a Virgin Galactic spaceship – of which the company has two at the moment – will initially cost $250,000.

The first passengers also signed up include celebrities Ashton Kucher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bierber.

Branson said it would take “about three years” for the company to make a profit.

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Gregory Wright 5 years ago

I have to wonder if commercial outer space trips up to the top of the Earth's atmosphere and back aren't going to become another way the restless rich add even more carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere? Have the CO2 emissions and other potential climate change-worsening effects of Virgin Galactic's space tours been examined and calculated yet?

Daniel 5 years ago

If you will observe, the people surrounded by scientists and engineers have all become rigidly silent in the last few years on "Ice Age" turned "Global Warming" then recently renamed "Climate Change" issues. Why is that?

It is because science has progressed to the point where we are no longer speculating about the behaviour of carbon molecules in the atmosphere. We now know that CO2 does not, in reality, insulate the world, refract radiation toward the surface, or even contribute to climate change. It is neutral, directly.

It DOES have one indirect effect. The higher levels of CO2 cause global plant growth rates to increase by 20% annually. That means more shade, more transpiration, cooler surface temps, and quicker carbon sequestration.

In a nutshell, the rug has been pulled out from under the Global Warming predictions. The people involved in actual scientific research have noticed, and have shut up...

Now, if the Media would figure it out, we could make progress.

Sergey Makarov 5 years ago

I have my own vision to the future Space hotel:
Is it interesting for you?