Kutcher is arguably the highest-profile prospective spaceflier confirmed to be on Virgin Galactic’s list — although Tom Hanks, Katy Perry, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are reportedly on the list as well. Beyonce and Jay-Z are among other celebs considering a flight. The stars are reportedly all paying their own way, except for physicist Stephen Hawking, who is receiving a free ride courtesy of billionaire founder Richard Branson.
It’s way too early to put Kutcher’s flight on the calendar. SpaceShipTwo is still in the midst of free-glide flight tests, with rocket-powered test flights expected to begin this year.
The current plan calls for commercial flight operations to be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico. SpaceShipTwo, which is capable of carrying six passengers and two pilots, would be linked up to its wide-winged WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and brought up to an altitude of 50,000 feet. At that height, SpaceShipTwo would drop from its mothership and turn on its hybrid rocket engine. The blast would take the craft beyond 62 miles (100 kilometers), the internationally accepted boundary of outer space — a commanding height from which Kutcher and his fellow passengers could see the arc of planet Earth and the dark sky of space above.
There’d be a few minutes of weightlessness, and then the passengers would return to their seats for the descent. After weathering up to 6 G’s of acceleration, the fliers would glide down to the landing — and get their astronaut wings back at Spaceport America.
Image: The Daily What