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Space travel on the cheap

Forget about going to Disney World. "Virgin World" may soon be the newest vacation destination...

Lance Bass

Forget about going to Disney World. "Virgin World," which may soon be the newest vacation destination, really is out of this world.

Eccentric entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Group is making plans to launch the first commercial space tourism service. Virgin Galactic will pair with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Mojave Aerospace Ventures for the venture.

The concept of space tourism is nothing new. Since 2001, space tourism firm Space Adventures has offered to take civilians up to the stars. But the multinational Virgin conglomerate may have an edge when it comes to gaining customers because it will be able to offer the ultimate in flight services. After take-off, passengers could sip a cool Virgin cola, listen to tunes via Virgin Digital's online music service, read a Virgin book and, with a Virgin Mobile phone, can even call to say "Hey ma, I'm in space! Can you hear me now?"

Not only that, but Virgin beats Space Adventures on price by a long shot. Previously, aspiring astronauts had to cough up a painful $20 million per person. But Branson predicts he'll be able to send customers into space for the low, low price of $190,000. With prices like that, even burned-out pop-star Lance Bass may finally be able to scrape together enough sponsorship money to make the trip.