Virgin Galactic space trip ‘biggest waste of money ever’ as Branson flogs ticket

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Virgin Galactic has opened ticket sales to the public so that anyone with cash to burn can now go to space on one of Richard Branson's rockets.

As of today, around 1,000 people will be able to get their hands on a ticket to space. It includes training and a hotel stay in New Mexico, followed by a rocket launch to space and several minutes of zero-gravity.

Once you've become an astronaut, you'll also become a member of Virgin's swanky 'Future Astronaut' members club, which promises 'events, trips, and space-readiness activities' while you wait for your flight (date TBC).

There's a few catches, however: it won't be cheap, and there's no word yet on when you'll actually get to go.

The tickets start at $450,000 each and can be purchased either as single seats, packages for couples or family, or even the chance to book out an entire flight. You can make a $150,000 (£110,000) deposit now and pay the other $300,000 (£221,000) later.

“At Virgin Galactic, we believe that space is transformational,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier. “We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, providing an incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet.”

Share prices of Virgin Galactic shot up by more than 32% following the news, after months of financial strife for Mr Branson and co. The company's test flights were grounded after the US government launched an investigation into his July space trip which reportedly broke space rules.

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However, not everyone is impressed. Many people have taken to Twitter to call Virgin Galactic's trips 'wasteful' and the 'biggest waste of money ever'.

"Virgin Galactic has created the most useless space vehicle ever. Just a very expensive & incredibly wasteful roller coaster ride. 100x more CO2 emissions than a plane flight and bringing you nowhere," wrote one Twitter user.

If you would like to go to space with Richard Branson, you can begin the application process by visiting Virgin Galactic's website.

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