Justin Bieber has paid $250,000 to Virgin Galactic as a deposit to reserve a seat aboard the SpaceShip Two, a private six-passenger spacecraft. The Canadian-born singer even tweeted that he wanted to shoot a music video while there.
The SpaceShip Two is not yet operational, but is designed to ferry paying tourists to and from earth orbit. The craft will be attached to a larger jet called the White Knight Two that will climb to 50,000 feet, where it will be released. Rocket engines on SpaceShip Two will then fire, bringing the craft close to space, then the rest of the journey to space is completed while coasting. The spacecraft, with Bieber aboard, will cruise at an altitude of 62 miles or more, which is the international standard for where space begins. Bieber will get to experience about five minutes of weightlessness before the craft begins the journey home.
Virgin Galactic, owned by Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson, is on-track to begin regular commercial space flights with SpaceShip Two in 2015. The first passengers will likely fly out of New Mexico's Spaceport America aboard SpaceShip Two in 2014. The craft completed its first rocket-powered supersonic test flight in April.
The date for Justin Bieber's flight is not yet set. Celebrities who have booked flights on the craft so far include Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Ashton Kutcher and Angeline Jolie. Bieber reserved a seat on the craft along with his manager, Scooter Braun. All in all, around 600 people have so far put down a deposit for a trip into space aboard SpaceShip Two. Passengers will be required to undergo G-Force training before boarding the craft to space.
"Great to hear @justinbieber & @scooterbraun are latest @virgingalactic future astronauts," Branson tweeted. Bieber did not respond directly to Branson, although he did re-tweet the billionaire's good wishes to his 40 million followers on Twitter, who call themselves Beliebers.
According to the Washington Times, neighbors around Bieber's Calabasas, CA home are so upset with the 19-year-old's partying and reckless driving that they are refusing to pay their homeowners fess until he ceases. Many of them are likely glad that he will be taking a vacation in space.
Bieber is worth an estimated $110 million. A petition on Change.org, directed to Branson asking him to leave Bieber in space, has over 1,800 signatures as of June 9.