More people have now signed up for suborbital flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, the six-passenger space plane from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, than have been in space, the company announced on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, made the announcement at the Farnborough International Airshow in southern England, in front of a crowd that included 120 of the 529 "astronauts" who have already put down deposits for the $200,000 journey.
To date, CNN reports, 528 people have traveled in space.
Branson said his two children, Sam and Holly, will be on the first space flight, the AP reports, which is scheduled for 2013. Holly Branson, along with Richard Branson's mother, Eve, attended the announcement.
Passengers will be taken about 68 miles above Earth's surface, according to Discovery News, where they will experience several minutes of weightlessness.
"We have a nice big cabin that's been deliberately designed to maximize the amount of space available, so people can float around and also enjoy the spectacular view," Stephen Attenborough, the commercial director for Virgin Galactic, told Discovery News in 2010.
Ashton Kutcher, the actor and tech investor, was the company's 500th customer, and according to MSNBC, there are reports that Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Katy Perry, are also planning on making the trip.
Angelo Araujo, a Portuguese diplomat who attended the Farnborough announcement, told CNN that he plans on reading poetry by his late father during his trip aboard the space plane.
"As we age and we approach the end, we are part of the universe and I think it's wonderful to see it from another angle," the 62-year-old told CNN.
In March, the FAA predicted that private space travel will become a billion-dollar industry within the next decade, and Branson is by no means the only player.
Excalibur Almaz, a company based in the Isle of Man, announced last month plans to take private citizens on six-month journeys around the moon. The company has purchased Soviet-era rockets and spacecraft, and tickets will cost a whopping $155 million each.
This post has been updated to include information about the number of people who have been to space.
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