Earth to Branson, earth to Branson… do you read me?

In case you missed it, perhaps too busy reading up on the pre-Copenhagen dialogue, or maybe the latest political intrigue from deepest, darkest Africa, Sir Richard Branson recently unveiled what is intended to be the first private rocket ship to ferry tourists to the edge of space. And this kinda got us thinking that perhaps […]


In case you missed it, perhaps too busy reading up on the pre-Copenhagen dialogue, or maybe the latest political intrigue from deepest, darkest Africa, Sir Richard Branson recently unveiled what is intended to be the first private rocket ship to ferry tourists to the edge of space. And this kinda got us thinking that perhaps the billionaire entrepreneur is already a bit, ummm, out there…if you know what we mean.

Tickets for the galactic thrill ride cost about US $200,000 apiece. The first leg involves a specially-built aircraft called the White Knight, which carries the business- jet size spaceship up to 50,000 feet. From there, the spaceship is released, its rocket kicks in and passengers can get out of their seats and float around in zero gravity as the spacecraft soars about 60 miles above the Earth. The first year of service, according to the venture’s latest estimates, will have an estimated 500 paying travelers.

So lets get this straight, it’s essentially about a really rich guy making a super high-tech toy so that other really rich people can have a two hour cruise into the twilight zone and back. Hmmmm. While we’re only slightly miffed that we will never be able to afford such frivolous travel — unless of course a low-cost space carrier muscles into the action — what really has us scratching our collective heads is the seemingly conflicting messages the Virgin King is sending us.