Lauda To Be A Spaceman; Barrichello On Galactic Flight
No, I have not gone completely bonkers, former world champion Niki Lauda is to become a space pilot, and veteran racer Rubens Barrichello is going into space.
It is all part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic scheme, where normal people (for the sum of $200,000) can take a flight into space. It will start some time next year, early tests with aircraft configurations are in progress and there is said to be a long waiting list.
Virgin are a sponsor to the Brawn GP team and this weekend in Bahrain the two Brawn cars are running with Virgin Galactic logos.
“Rubens has bought a ticket for space, and Niki is going to train to become an astronaut to hopefully fly other people into space one day,” said Branson.
Niki Lauda formerly owned Lauda Air, before it was sold to Austrian Airlines, and now runs Fly Niki. He is a professioanl airline pilot, and often flies his own jets with payload customers onboard.
“I have been a professional pilot for many years. I fly Boeing and Airbuses and my only dream was to fly the Space Shuttle.
“I was always looking at that, but that was impossible because basically Americans do that. When I saw this project I was the first knocking on the door.”
Lewis Hamilton has apparantly bought himself, his father, brother and girlfriend tickets for one of the first flights.