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Space: New frontier for the rich

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, April 14, 2014
Posted: 8 am ET

The jet set could give way to the space set, as the restless rich begin traveling to the world's new tourist frontier: outer space.

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson

If the colorful British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has his way, his company, Virgin Galactic, will begin giving commercial passengers a taste of space travel later this year. And if things go as planned, they'll eventually be able to lay their heads in one of his planetary hotels.

'The ride of a lifetime'

In an interview on the Jonathan Ross Show, Branson said he sees the beginning of a new era in space travel. "It's going to be absolutely magnificent. People will become astronauts; they'll be able to experience zero gravity," he said. "They'll be able to check that the world is really round and they'll have the ride of a lifetime."

Branson also noted on the show that if the flights are popular, he would begin building hotels in space.

Blast off later in 2014?

In an interview with The Guardian, Branson insisted that the first commercial space flight will take off this year. What's more, he and his children will be passengers. The plan for the inaugural flight is to travel 62 miles above the Earth, but Branson recognized the risks.

"The biggest worry I had was re-entry," he told The Guardian. "NASA has lost about 3 percent of everyone who's gone into space and re-entry has been their biggest problem. For a government-owned company, you can just about get away with losing 3 percent of your clients. For a private company, you can't really lose anybody."

Good to know he's keeping that in mind.

Would you want to boldly go on vacation? Read about the cost of a trip into space.

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