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Twenty Gulf astronauts to blast into space

Virgin Galactic is aiming to launch test flights next year; 20 people from the region have put down deposits for $200,000 trips.

March 3, 2010 2:20 by



Virgin Galactic is aiming to launch test flights into space in 2011, and claims that 20 aspiring astronauts from the Gulf region are among 330 people to have put down deposits for the $200,000 trips.

Richard Branson’s commercial space airline also said that it does not need additional financing after selling a stake to Abu Dhabi’s Abaar last year, its chief executive was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“We’ve passed a lot of the biggest hurdles,” Will Whitehorn told reporters at a space conference in Dubai. “The spaceport will be open next year and we will hopefully test flights into space next year.”

Virgin Galactic is partly owned by Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments.

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