Justin Bieber books space voyage on Virgin Galactic

LOS ANGELES Fri Jun 7, 2013 5:15am IST

1 of 2. Pop singer Justin Bieber (L) watches the Miami Heat play against the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is the latest celebrity to reach for the stars, signing up to go into space with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

British entrepreneur Branson announced on Twitter on Wednesday that Bieber, 19, and his manager, Scooter Braun, were the latest "future astronauts." Bieber tweeted in response, "let's shoot a music video in SPACE!!"

Virgin Galactic commercial space flights, which are slated to begin next year, have reportedly already drawn high profile passengers including physicist Stephen Hawking as well as actors Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

At a charity auction during the Cannes film festival last month, one guest paid $1.2 million to purchase a seat next to actor Leonardo DiCaprio on Virgin Galactic.

Last year, "Two and a Half Men" actor Ashton Kutcher became the 500th person to sign up.

A seat on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot spaceship, costs $250,000 and will take passengers to an altitude of about 68 miles (109 km), giving them a few minutes to experience zero gravity and glimpse Earth from space.

The SpaceShipTwo rocket is currently undergoing vigorous tests in preparation of its first space trip with Branson and his family, scheduled for the end of this year.

Virgin Galactic is a division of Branson's Virgin Group.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Sandra Maler)

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