The private company planning to take wealthy tourists to the edge of the atmosphere starting in late 2009 or early 2010 has refused a million-dollar proposal to film a sex video while the participants are floating gravity free, the company's president said.
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic, said the offer, from an unidentified party, "was $1 million, up front, for a sex-in-space movie. That was money we had to refuse, I'm afraid."
Whitehorn disclosed the rejected transaction here on Tuesday during the International Astronautical Congress. He said Virgin Galactic, part of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, is planning to begin flights of the White Knight Two aircraft in late 2009 or early 2010 from Sierra County, N.M.
The aircraft will carry the SpaceShipTwo craft, which is released during flight and then climbs to 62 miles (100 kilometers) in altitude to offer fee-paying passengers around five minutes of weightlessness as the vehicle approaches the limits of the Earth's atmosphere.
Virgin Galactic is charging about $200,000 per person for the two-hour flight. The company has received $40 million in deposits from 280 customers, Whitehorn said. Earlier this year, Whitehorn estimated that Virgin Galactic had spent some $100 million developing its business, mainly in research and development of the aircraft by Scaled Composites LLC of Mojave, Calif.