Virgin Galactic To Make Private Space Flight Mainstream With 'Space Race' Reality TV Show

Virgin Galactic Planning ‘Space Race’ Reality Show, Tours Of The Moon

Virgin Galactic, the private space flight division of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is partnering with NBC to bring a reality TV show named Space Race to viewers in 2014. The program will have participants competing for a free ticket on the company’s space plane. The lucky winner will be one of the first passengers to experience a high-altitude trip in Galactic’s new SpaceShipTwo.

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson says he wants his private space flight company to eventually be accessible to all. However, when flights open to the public in 2014 it will cost around $250,000 for a seat, Huffington Post reports. Branson believes that the Space Race reality TV show will help bring the non-rich into the fold, “through direct experience and television viewing.”

The new TV show comes to NBC with the help of producer Mark Burnett. Burnett is one of the biggest names in reality television, having worked on hits like Survivor and The Apprentice.

Television is not all Branson has planned for Virgin Galactic. In a speech delivered in late September, the billionaire outlined the ambitious goals he expects his private space flight company to reach. What does he have in mind? Space hotels and Moon tours.

As Scientific American reports, Richard Branson says that eventually customers will be able to make reservations to stay in orbiting lodgings. From there, tourists will be able to rent and fly two-person spaceships to the moon. In his speech, Branson wants to allow people to fly only a few hundred feet above the moon’s surface so they can easily take in the craters, valleys, and mountains.

To do this, the company will need to build LauncherOne. This craft will be able to take guests to their space hotels at a much lower cost than it is now. Though some are skeptical of Branson’s ambitions, the billionaire seems confident Virgin Galactic will be able to meet these goals, though no specific time frame was mentioned.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Flies Higher and Faster

[Image via Jim Koepnick / Virgin Galactic]