Justin Bieber's long-held dream of going into space is set to become a reality.
Virgin's billionaire founder, Sir Richard Branson, confirmed in a June 5 tweet, that the 19-year-old and his manager, Scooter Braun, have signed up to their suborbital spaceflights program.
"Great to hear @justinbieber & @scooterbraun are latest @virgingalactic future astronauts," Branson wrote. "Congrats, see you up there!"
Bieber, who's currently on a break from his Believe world tour, didn't reply to the entrepreneur choosing instead to retweet Branson's.
In February, the teen star told his (now 40 million strong) Twitter followers:
To which NASA, who have previously spoken about their interest in harnessing the social media power of Bieber to entice young people into science, replied:
"Maybe we can help you with that."
For anyone surprised to learn of Bieber's desire to go into space, check out this 2010 soundcheck (scroll to 11:00 minutes) to hear him talking about doing just that.
But, if any paparazzi are thinking about tailing the pop star into the space, they may want to get saving. A ride on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane recently hiked from $200,000 to $250,000, evidence of either rising fuel prices and/or the high demand for a seat on the trip of a lifetime.
Of course, for Bieber, whose net worth is estimated at $110 million, that price tag is clearly small change compared to the thrill of getting away from gravity's pull and the paps that constantly follow him.
SpaceShipTwo was put through its first supersonic rocket-powered flight test in California in April and is slated to kick off commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico in early 2014.
Bieber, Braun, and a roll call of other A-listers who have reportedly signed up --- Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sarah Brightman and Victoria Principal --- will be flown 62 miles above earth, which is the altitude internationally accepted as the boundary of outer space.
So, what can the lucky passengers-in-waiting expect to see and feel?
Imagine just a few minutes of sublime weightlessness and a view of terra firma curving beneath a black sky. And if all that doesn't get the wonder stuff flowing, the return trip and landing mirrors a sensation not unlike a roller-coaster ride --- only way better.
For a nascent commercial suborbital spaceflight industry, the obvious benefits of spreading a little Bieber Fever among the stars is a no-brainer. Back in 2012, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute noted (without irony) the publicity value of sending the Canadian superstar into space.
"My suggestion is, be sure to send Justin Bieber on one of these flights early on," Shostak told the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference."If there's more interest, there are more customers. If there are more customers, there's more technical development. It's a positive feedback loop and, obviously that's good."
How do you feel about the Biebs going into space? Does it spread a warm, fuzzy feeling through your atria, or are you hoping it's a one-way trip?
Sound off below.
[Images via The Star Phoenix & Huffington Post]