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December 5 2012

Virgin spaceship aims to be science lab


Sir Richard Branson wants his tourist spaceship also to become a high-altitude science platform.

The billionaire's rocket plane will carry six fare-paying passengers just above the atmosphere to experience a few minutes of weightlessness.

But the vehicle has been designed so that its seats can be removed easily and the space filled with science gear.

Passenger flights should begin in 18 months or so; research sorties could start soon after.

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