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Richard Branson Announces Timeline for Space Tourism, Moon Hotels

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Billionaire CEO and lovable whackjob Richard Branson doesn't settle for the status quo. Heck, the guy doesn't settle for off-kilter. Branson dives headlong into pure, unadulterated insanity with every initiative he executes. Circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon. Crossing the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle. Rappelling down Las Vegas' Palms Casino Hotel.

And now, the guy wants to be in the space hotel business.

Having formed Virgin Galactic, Branson wishes to head the first commercial company to promote space tourism with his latest craft, SpaceShipTwo. As you recall, SpaceShipOne heralded the first privately funded human spaceflight in June 2004, and clearly Branson wanted in -- having co-funded the development of the second incarnation. And for $200,000 you can buy a ticket to board the craft.

Speaking at a business conference in Kuala Lumpur, Branson announced SpaceShipTwo has been built and Virgin Galactic is 18 months away from taking people into space. According to AFP, the group has already collected $45 million in reservations from over 330 people, leaving the six-person craft a lot of voyages to cover the demand.

But, knowing Branson, mere space flights are child's play. He wants to establish moon hotels, confessing, "We are looking at hotels in space. We love the moon."

The logistics are, literally and figuratively, astronomical. But, knowing Branson, that ain't gonna stop the guy.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.