WEST PALM BEACH, FL, June 9, 2013 — Justin Bieber is set to join other celebrities as a space tourist. Last week, Bieber paid his $250,000 to reserve a seat on SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic’s not-yet-operational aircraft that will eventually allow private citizens to take suborbital flights to the edge of space.
The SpaceShipTwo is currently in the testing stage, and Virgin Galactic – owned by Richard Branson and Virgin – expects flights to start in 2015.
After announcing the project in 2004, Branson said, “We hope to create thousands of astronauts over the next few years and bring alive their dream of seeing the majestic beauty of our planet from above, the stars in all their glory and the amazing sensation of weightlessness.”
His plan worked, with more than 600 people so far signed up to play astronaut. Among the passengers are Angeline Jolie, Ashton Kutcher and Leonardo DiCaprio.
According to Virgin, the spacecraft will carry six passengers at a time. The carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo will take the spacecraft to 50,000 feet, then separate for SpaceShipTwo’s trip to space. SpaceShipTwo will fire its engines then shut them off and coast to the final distance of 60 miles.
Passengers will experience weightlessness for about five minutes and have “an out-of-seat zero gravity experience as well as plenty of large windows for the amazing views back to Earth.”
The Ship will then return to Earth.
Enthusiasm for the flights has not waned despite some initial setbacks. A fatal explosion in 2007 delayed development of the rocket engine, and the date for the first flight has continually been revised for later-than-anticipated.
The spacecraft successfully made its first rocket-powered test flight in April, raising hopes that the first commercial flight will take place soon.
On June 5, Branson tweeted, “Great to hear @justinbieber & @scooterbraun are latest @virgingalactic future astronauts. Congrats, see you up there!” Braun is Bieber’s manager, and also reserved a seat on the space flight.
Bieber, who has recently made headlines for winning still more pop music awards and for abandoning his capuchin monkey in Germany, responded – by Tweet, of course – “@richardbranson @scooterbraun @virgingalactic let’s shoot a music video in SPACE!! #nextLEVEL.”
Bieber will not be the first to record a video in space, however. Last month, Astronaut Chris Hadfield sang David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while on the International Space Station.
One group likely thankful for the trip is Bieber’s neighbors. Residents in his exclusive Calabasas, California community are unhappy about Bieber’s excessive parties and constant speeding through the neighborhood.
Several residents are refusing to pay their $1,000 a month homeowners fees unless Bieber starts following the homeowners rules.
The move came after continuous confrontations with Bieber concerning his speeding. Last month, Bieber reportedly spat in the face of a neighbor and then threatened to kill him after the neighbor approached Bieber about his reckless speeding in the gated community.
As with all things celebrity, the neighborhood spat has hit Twitterdom. Former NFL player Eric Dickerson tweeted, “I live in Calabasas too and @justinbieber needs to slow his ass down.” He added, “Hey @justinbieber I use to have a white Ferrari too, but I knew the speed limit in neighborhoods where kids played.”
The neighbors no doubt welcome the news of Bieber’s travels, and hope they continue.
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