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Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 03/20/2012

Ashton Kutcher is going to space, thanks to Richard Branson

Ashton Kutcher. (Jason Redmond - AP)
Ashton Kutcher isn’t going to play an astronaut on TV — he’s going to be one in real life.

The “Two and a Half Men” actor will be the 500th passenger aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, billionaire mogul Richard Branson announced on his blog Monday. The suborbital flight — which will take Kutcher 68 miles above the Earth, allowing him to experience zero gravity, according to Reuters — costs $200,000.

(For reference, the altitude for a transatlantic flight aboard a Boeing commercial airplane is 35,000 feet above sea level, or around 6.6 miles.)

But Kutcher won’t be taking his trip to the final frontier anytime soon. Virgin Galactic officials are testing the spacecraft this year and hope to start passenger service in 2013 or 2014, according to Reuters.

In the meantime, Kutcher will be able to enjoy the perks of being a rich future space traveler. According to Virgin Galactic’s site, once a deposit of $20,000 is paid the member has access to “astronaut forums with Sir Richard Branson on his Caribbean island home or his South African game reserve,” “opportunities to tour Scaled Composites” and “to see for real the new vehicles under development.”

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 03/20/2012

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