Russell Brand to fly on Virgin Galactic's first-ever space tour

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Guests on the world's first tourist space flight will include a mix of celebrities, scientists and entrepreneurs, who have all paid £123,000 for a three-and-a-half-hour SpaceShipTwo ride.

Virgin has revealed that more than 450 customers have signed up for a series of flights in 2013, which will each carry six passengers and two pilots travelling to 70 miles above Earth.

According to, among the high-fliers preparing to jet into space are Russell Brand, Dallas star Victoria Principal, designer Philippe Starck, professor Stephen Hawking, property developers the Candy brothers, and PayPal developer Elon Musk.

The experience has been described as offering views similar to the vistas astronauts on board the International Space Station have enjoyed.

The flights will allow 15 minutes in space, and the A-listers can enjoy great views through fitted portholes on the spacecraft.

Before being allowed on the flight, passengers will have to undergo a medical and take part in a three-day training session, which will see them attend a trial flight simulating zero-gravity conditions.

Preparation will also include being put through a human centrifuge machine that replicates the 3.5G (multiples of gravity) that passengers will encounter as they surge upwards.

The Virgin Galactic flights will take off from a 10,00 foot runway at the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport in New Mexico.

As the date for the first-ever space tourism flight approaches, Virgin announced that British pilot David Mackay will be the one to captain it.

He has worked with Virgin Atlantic since 1995, and is one of four people selected to become Virgin Galactic test pilots who are currently working with the development team at Virgin's Spaceport centre in the Mojave Desert in California.

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