FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom - British tycoon Richard Branson says his children will join him on the first of his Virgin Galactic space flights, as he unveiled a new satellite launching service.
Outlining his plans at the Farnborough Air Show in southwest England, the billionaire entrepreneur said he and his adult son Sam and daughter Holly hoped to make the journey on the SpaceShipTwo, or SS2, aircraft by the end of 2013.
The WhiteKnightTwo aircraft that will help launch SS2 into space will also be used for a new launch vehicle, LauncherOne, which will take small satellites into space for around one tenth of the present cost, Branson said.
"Obviously this is the most exciting adventure I have ever undertaken," the Virgin Galactic founder told AFP.
"It's both an entrepreneurial and personal adventure in being able to build a spaceship and ask my children to come along who can also enjoy it. It's every boy's dream."
Branson unveiled a full size replica of SS2 at the show.
In all, 529 people have put down a deposit to clinch a space on the 96.54 km, two-hour ride into space, at a cost of STG128,000 ($F361,521.53) each. Around 120 of them were at the Branson event in Farnborough.