The US Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that space tourism will become an industry with the output value of more than US$1 billion within a decade.
Several companies are planning to offer private sub-orbital spacecraft flying services, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic being the most well-known. Virgin Galactic said recently that they have received a test flight permit and expect to test Spacecraft 2 at the end of the year. Virgin's space travel services are to be officially launched in 2013.
The price for the Virgin Galactic space travel per person is US$200,000. Around 500 celebrities have already booked tickets, including Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt , Angelina Julie, British physicist Stephen Hawking and Britain's Prince Harry. Richard Branson and his two children and a Chinese merchant from Ningbo city of Zhejiang province are also on the list.
Virgin Galactic will take six passengers per tour on a 6-minutes flight around the earth. The tour leaders will receive training at the Mojave spaceport in California. Virgin Galactic president George Huaitesaizi said that the company will provide hour-long space travel in the future. "It's hard to imagine that man can travel around the Earth within one hour, but it is entirely possible." Huaitesaizi said, "If we can lower prices, it will be a very big market."