Dubai Air Show

Branson Eyes UAE for Space Flights

 - December 11, 2006, 10:32 AM

Virgin Group boss Sir Richard Branson is touting the UAE as one of the world’s first space tourism centers when his Virgin Galactic venture begins suborbital flights at the end of the decade. Visiting the UAE last week to launch a new Virgin Atlantic route between London and Dubai, Branson revealed he already had “a number of business cards from Arabs I have met while here, who want to go into space.” He added, “We have been approached by a number of rulers from the region who would like the space station built in their country.”

Branson said the Middle East would be his first choice for an international space center after the U.S. flights aboard the VSS Enterprise, the first Virgin Galactic spacecraft, begin in 2008. The company has already collected around $20 million in deposits, from 34,000 people who have registered for the $200,000 flights.