Nightly News   |  November 08, 2013

Hundreds buy $250k seats for ride on Branson’s space flight

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and his son, Sam, will be on the first flight to suborbital space, just beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Branson’s company will begin offering commercial flights in 2014, and NBC News will accompany Branson on the maiden voyage. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, if you go back a few years then you remember those issues of popular science magazine that told us we would all some day have the ability to enjoy space travel . indeed, that era is about to begin. while the price needs to come down before everybody can enjoy it, it appears the billionaire richard branson is going to be the first to offer a ride. our report from our national correspondent kate snow .

>> reporter: at the american museum of natural history today, we asked kids about their space travel dreams.

>> well, i know all b about space travel .

>> it will be like on a roller coaster a little.

>> like there's no ground for you to stand on.

>> i'm flying! whoo!

>> reporter: richard branson says he can deliver the dream.

>> we are going to inspire people to experience something that they would never have had the opportunity to experience. so, yeah, it's awesome.

>> reporter: a carrier airplane would take the spacecraft to 50,000 feet and release it. then rockets kick in and you are thrown back in your seat. just to the edge of space.

>> absolute silence. unbuckle the seat. look out the windows, gently float around.

>> reporter: zero gravity.

>> look back on the earth. you're experiencing something under 500 people have experienced.

>> reporter: at least nine companies, several billionaires included, are fighting for the same turf. branson is confident virgin galactic will start first. nbc will chronicle the story to the first launch and the maiden voyage . more than 600 people have bought seats including stephen hawking , leonardo dicaprio , justin bieber and ashton kutcher . tickets aren't cheap. $250,000 for a two and a half-hour ride. sir richard and his son sam will be on the first flight. did you have a choice?

>> i think -- i hope i still do have a choice.

>> reporter: do you have dreams about going into space?

>> i did. but i think what if something bad happens. and then -- like the movie "gravity."

>> reporter: the bransons haven't seen the film -- yet.

>> maybe it's best not to watch it.

>> we'll watch it after being in space, i think.

>> reporter: kate snow , nbc news, new