Branson and NBC Offering Chance to Win Trip to Outer Space


How would you like to win a ticket to outer space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo? If your answer is you’d like it a lot, then you just might be in luck, as Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor and The Voice and Richard Branson are teaming up to produce for NBC a series called Space Race, where you’ll get the chance to win a ticket to outer space.

On Thursday, NBC announced details about the proposed series. The station is already calling Space Race a “groundbreaking, elimination competition series.” Earlier this year, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo succeeded in its initial test flights.

NBC’s president of alternative and late-night programming, Paul Telegdy sated that “This will be a remarkable experience for anyone who has looked at the night’s sky and dared to dream of space flight.”

This year, Virgin began testing its rocket-powered space vehicle. On September 5, 2013, pilots managed to attain a height of 69,000 feet. They made a successful landing fairly close to Virgin Galactic’s facility in the Mojave Desert.

Branson is attempting to turn his venture into a commercial enterprise, and he’s already sold tickets at $250,000 a pop to such celebrities as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher. Over 600 people have already signed up to be among the first civilian tourists in outer space.

Virgin Galactic will begin selling tickets as soon as next year. $80 million in deposits from 640 people interested in experiencing the weightlessness of space has already been collected by Branson’s company. Branson and his family will be among the first tourists to venture into outer space.

Where will Space Race be filmed?

In part, the NBC series Space Race will be filmed at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Virgin Galactic’s American headquarters are located. There, according to NBC’s announcement, contestants and anyone who buys a ticket to space will be trained and prepared for their outer space odyssey.

According to Richard Branson, Space Race will:

…extend this opportunity of a lifetime to as many people as possible right at the start of our commercial service – through direct experience and television viewing.”

In 2000, Branson came up with a different series idea about a trip to space, which he sold to NBC. Finalists would be teamed up with cosmonauts and trained in Russia at their famed Star City facility. The series would concluded with the televised journey of the American winner to the space station. However, the project was nixed with the end of the Mir space station in 2001.

According to producer Mark Burnett, he’s waited 10 years for the opportunity to make a series about letting an average American get the experience of flying to outer space and gazing down on the Earth.

If you were given the chance, would you like to be one of the first tourists to journey to outer space? Maybe you can, if you have either $250,000 to buy yourself a ticket; or, if you are lucky enough to win a ticket to ride aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.
Written by: Douglas Cobb

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