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SpaceShipTwo to offer passengers chance of floating about in zero gravity

Tickets for a ride aboard SpaceShipTwo will set you back £174,500 Credit: Mark Greenbe / DPA/PA Images

Sir Richard Branson says his Virgin Galactic team have been working day and night for the past 15 months to get SpaceShipTwo ready for taking passengers on a trip of a lifetime.

Here is what you can expect from purchasing a £174,500-ticket for the voyage into space:

  • Flight time of approximately two hours
  • 60-minute journey from take-off to release from the WhiteKnightTwo carrier at approximately 50,000ft
  • Independent flight time of 30 times
  • "Unique thrills of spaceflight, enjoying the opportunity to leave seats to float in zero gravity for several minutes"
  • Filmed version of the flight

Taking into account the 30-minute independent flight time, based on the full price of a ticket, half an hour on the unsupported spaceship will cost £5,800, or roughly about £97 per second.

Branson: Virgin Atlantic 'great' in turning around airline

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said the results mark the conclusion of the recovery period, putting "firm foundations in place for the future". The group had a pre-tax loss of £51 million the year ending December 2013 - the last time the airline reported a profit was in 2011.

I can't think of a better way to complete our 30th birthday year than with a return to profit. The team at Virgin Atlantic has done a great job in turning around the airline and has the right strategy to take the business from strength to strength.

Keeping our customers and our people at the heart of everything we do gives me great confidence in our future and I look forward to the next 30 years.

– Sir Richard Branson , Virgin Atlantic president,

Group revenue was £2.9 billion in 2014, with Virgin Holidays recording a profit for the year before tax and exceptional items of £5.7 million, up £3 million year on year, and increased revenue by 1.1%. Passenger satisfaction scores have increased, with an 11% improvement since 2012, while 85.5% of flights departed within 15 minutes of schedule, meaning that 14.5% did not.

Virgin Atlantic reports its first profit since 2011

Virgin Atlantic has reported its first profit since 2011 and the airline's founder Sir Richard Branson said he was looking forward "to the next 30 years".

Virgin Atlantic reports its first profit since 2011. Credit: PA

The carrier is reporting a pre-tax profit of £14.4 million for the year ending December 31 2014, representing an improvement of Virgin Atlantic has reported its first profit since 2011 and the airline's founder Sir Richard Branson said he was looking forward "to the next 30 years".

Sir Richard has hailed staff for doing "a great job in turning around the airline".

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Clegg calls for decriminalisation of personal drug use

Nick Clegg will pledge a Lib Dem overhaul of drug laws. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Young people caught with small amounts of drugs for their own use should not receive criminal convictions, Nick Clegg will say today.

In a speech alongside Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson, the Deputy Prime Minister will attack the "ludicrous" status quo that allows people to be unable to get work in later life if they make a "youthful mistake".

He will announce Liberal Democrat proposals to take users out of the criminal justice system, instead introducing either treatment, education or a civil fine for those caught in possession of drugs for personal use.

Under current rules, someone cautioned for such a crime would have to declare it for six years when applying for certain jobs.

If they are fined for the same offence that increases to 11 years, while it will have to be declared for the rest of their lives if they receive a prison sentence.

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