Branson
Branson works to make space tourism possible

The world's first commercial space flight will include a mix of celebrities, scientists and entrepreneurs who will all have to shell out $200,000 (£123,000) per seat for the two-and-a-half hour ride in the "SpaceShipTwo."

Virgin has revealed that more than 450 customers have already signed up for a series of flights starting in 2013, which will each have six passengers and two pilots travelling to 70 miles above the Earth.

Among the celebrities looking forward to travel into space are comedian Russell Brand, "Dallas" star Victoria Principal, film director Bryan Singer, designer Philippe Starck, scientist Professor Stephen Hawking, property developers the Candy brothers, and PayPal developer Elon Musk.

The flights will allow them to spend 15 minutes into space, and port holes windows fitted throughout the cabin will ensure the A-list get the best view possible, with the experience described as similar to the vistas experienced by astronauts on board the International Space Station.

Before being allowed on the flight however, passengers will have to undergo a medical screening and participate in a three-day training session that will simulate zero-gravity conditions.

Preparation will also include being put through a human centrifuge machine that replicates the 3.5G (multiples of gravity) that passengers will encounter as they surge upward.

The Virgin Galactic flights will take off from a 10,000 feet long  runway at the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, in New Mexico.

As the date of the first scheduled flight approaches, Virgin has also revealed the chief pilot for the first flight of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic: David Mackay.

Mackay, 53, spent 16 years with the RAF before joining Virgin Atlantic in 1995, working as a captain with Virgin Atlantic.

He is one of four pilots selected to become Virgin Galactic test pilots who are currently working with the development team at Virgin's Spaceport centre in the U.S.

''So it will be a very exciting rocket ride, it will last about a minute and they will be pinned back into their seats.

''There will be a bit of noise and vibration so they'll definitely know they are on their way into space," Mackay told the Telegraph.