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Space tourism rockets

Stars line up to splurge dosh shocker

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Virgin Galactic has announced that it has signed up more than 150 prospective space tourists. Richard Branson's latest venture will haul millionaires into a brief sub-orbital flight using a fleet of SpaceShipTwo craft, the successor to the ship which claimed the Ansari X-Prize for commercial space flight in 2004.

Fibrous breakfast cereal hawker William Shatner is said to be interested in the five minutes of weightlessness the £114,000 trips will offer. Dallas megabitch Victoria Principal and Alien actress Sigourney Weaver have already handed over the readies.

There are worries about the demands space flight will put on fabulously wealthy bodies, rendered soft by comfortable decades of scoffing organic dodo steaks by money fires, stirring only occasionally to smash Fabergé eggs with diamond encrusted mallets.

Such concerns don't deter compulsive sky-botherer Branson, who plans to cart his own octogenarian parents 100km up when Virgin Galactic begins launches from Mexico in 2008.

Strapping six-footer Weaver's experience of interplanetary predicaments will surely serve to calm nerves if the Bransons get in a pickle.

A spokesman said that once the operation is up and running, they hope to slash the ticket price to a school trip-friendly £42,000. ®

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