Birmingham-born advertising guru Trevor Beattie is set to be the first Brummie in space after signing up to Sir Richard Branson's new Virgin Galactic spaceflights.
Sir Richard and his children will be the first passengers when the tycoon’s space tourism programme begins.
Virgin boss Sir Richard and son Sam and daughter Holly are expected to fly 60 miles up into space on the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) aircraft by the end of next year.
Sir Richard was at Farnborough Air Show where he joined about 120 other tourists who have signed up for the two-hour flights, at £128,000 a trip.
A total of 529 people – including, it is believed, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – have signed up for an SS2 trip.
They include Trevor Beattie, who has previously written: “Travelling to space is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do.
“The generation before me dreamed of being train drivers, the generation after me crave celebrity. For me, it was and is space.”
Sir Richard also announced that the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft that will help launch SS2 into space will also be used for a new launch vehicle – LauncherOne – which will take small satellites into space for around a tenth of the present cost.
From a spaceport built in New Mexico, USA, by UK architect Lord Foster, WhiteKnightTwo will take the SS2, with six passengers and two pilots, to a point about 50,000ft up.
Sir Richard and other passengers will be able to float around the cabin due to weightlessness before the SS2 effectively becomes a glider for its return to the spaceport.
“Next year Holly and Sam will be joining me for a first voyage into space,” Sir Richard told a packed media conference at Farnborough.
He went on: “Going into space is a hard business. It keeps my mind buzzing.”
He added that he would have loved to have taken WhiteKnightTwo and SS2 to Farnborough.
And in a jokey remark concerning Virgin’s big airline rival, Sir Richard said: “It would have been nice to have flown over the Olympic Games, especially as British Airways is one of the (Games) sponsors.”
A number of the space tourists posed for pictures beside an SS2 replica.