Sir Richard Branson, the ambitious and ever so slightly eccentric founder of the Virgin Galactic space tourism firm, has put out a call for daredevil starship pilots to make his starry eyed dreams a reality.
The world’s first ever commercial ‘spaceline’ is now looking for qualified pilots to navigate its WhiteKnightTwo mother ship and SpaceShipTwo spacecraft.
One unnamed source at Virgin Galactic, controlled by Branson’s Virgin Group, says that its plan to launch sub-orbital space flights to paying space tourists is well underway and they hope to finally begin commercial flights either later this year or in 2012.
The company is looking for pilots to take part in development testing, the source revealed.
They are seeking test pilots with a minimum 3,000 hours flying experience, who have graduated from well known flight schools. While previous space flight experience is definitely a plus, it is not required.
The suborbital flights, which can be booked now on the company’s website, will cost $200,00 per person. The flights will allow paying passengers to experience weightlessness as the SpaceShipTwo craft enters the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceShipTwo’s design was based on its predecessor, SpaceShipOne, which became the first privately manned spacecraft to reach outer space in 2004.
Virgin Galactic also plan to provide orbital spaceflights for human passengers in the future.
Budding space-flyers are encouraged to contact Virgin Galactic directly.