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A travel trip most of us would have thought impossible in our lifetimes is now firmly on the cards as out in the wilds of New Mexico, in the appropriately space-age looking Spaceport America, preparations are well in hand to launch the first flights into Space. Virgin Galactic's headquarters are awe-inspiring, they cost over £250 million to create, and were designed by British architects. Looking like plates of moon rock which have fallen to the earth and lodged themselves into this naked landscape, the impressive structure will soon be the terminal into the galaxy as fee-paying passengers line up to travel beyond the boundaries of our planet. Unlike any other human beings who have made these trips before, they will not have undergone months or years of training to become astronauts. They will be as ordinary and untrained as anyone getting onto a flight to Tenerife or Tobago, just regular people with a desire to experience something truly out of this world. Although the first passengers will not be scientists or PhDs they will all have one thing in common. They will all be incredibly well-off. A budget airline this is not. In little under a year's time, those who embark from here will have parted with hundreds of thousands of pounds for the privilege.

A small price to pay, you might think, for an intergalactic odyssey but it will represent a trip that only actually lasts for two hours in total, around six minutes of which will be in the zone of zero gravity.

It was in 2004 that Sir Richard Branson first announced this revolution and promised that he would find a way for people to head off into the stars. The first to sign up did so in blind faith, putting down £12,000 deposits without any guarantees that the programme would be operational in time for them to take part in it. If any of those bold folk secretly hoped that this may in fact come true, they will have to think again. It now looks like the space travel is almost ready to begin, and could be operational by the end of 2014. If it no longer "if" it is "when" and US television network has planned a reality show, Space Race, where competitors will vie with one another for a chance to win one of these prize tickets to ride on the Virgin Galactic Spaceship.

For those who would rather keep their feet on solid ground, tours of the facility are available. You can visit the launch area, the runway that is 1.8 miles long and the Terminal Hangar. These tours operate from towns in New Mexico with the rather marvellous names of Truth for Consequences and Elephant Butte. Rocket launches are taking place on the site, under the auspices of NASA and the runway is proving a popular testing ground for high performance sports cars. There is quite a lot going on there with crew in place and much anticipation in the air, of what will be a momentous breakthrough in travel as we know it.

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