The countdown is on, wealthy space enthusiasts. Virgin Galactic will begin commercial flights into space in the second half of 2014.
The interest is definitely there: Virgin said it’s collected $80 million in deposits and has sold 680 tickets at $250,000 a pop.
Flights will take off from the Virgin Spaceport, which is located in southern New Mexico. They’ll climb 50,000 feet into the outer atmosphere, giving passengers their first taste of true weightlessness.
Virgin will start full test flights this spring. In the meantime, check out the video of one of their early-stage tests, which was conducted in January. In it, SpaceShipTwo reached 71,000 feet and achieved top speeds of Mach 1.4—which is 1.4 times the speed of sound.
According to reports, the first Virgin Galactic flight will be made by Richard Branson and his family. However, the company must first obtain FAA approval on its commercial license.