Video: Virgin Galactic opens world's first 'spaceship factory'

Ruth Doherty
Video: Virgin Galactic opens world's first 'spaceship factory'
Video: Virgin Galactic opens world's first 'spaceship factory'

Virgin Galactic

Lift-off for space tourism has come one step closer as the 'world's first factory for the creation of commercial spaceships' opens in the Mojave Desert in LA.

The Spaceship Co facility is a joint venture between a company called Scaled Composites and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. Branson said it was 'tremendously exciting to be literally at the birth of a whole new industry', adding: 'Today marks another important step along the road to opening space for everyone.

'From this hangar, the talented team at The Spaceship Co will be at the forefront of making space access safe, reliable and affordable.'

The completion of the production facility is another step closer to sending paying customers in space.

More than 450 people have already signed up for a space flight, at a cost of £123,000 a ticket.

Guests on the world's first tourist space flight include a mix of celebrities and entrepreneurs - among these high-fliers are our very own Russell Brand, Dallas star Victoria Principal, designer Philippe Starck, professor Stephen Hawking, property developers the Candy brothers, and PayPal developer Elon Musk

No specific date has been set for the first commercial flight, but it is thought it will launch at some point in 2013 from a specially-designed spaceport in New Mexico.