Last year, three enthusiastic fans of Leonardo DiCaprio with deep pockets threw down a combined $3.8M million to join the actor on a future trip to space aboard Virgin Galactic. Last week, at the same amfAR auction for AIDS research, DiCaprio did it again, this time auctioning off one seat for nearly $1 million. Since each of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicles can accommodate six passengers and two pilots, that leaves one more seat for a future auction. Start saving now.
Leo's contribution helped amfAR raise a record $38 million, rocketing well past the $25 million from the previous year's event. In plugging the latest auction, the 39-year-old actor recommitted that the flight would likely take place sometime in 2015 — a timeline that appears to be a best-case scenario at the moment. Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, is bullish that his first flight into space will take place later this year, but he admits the process is extremely complicated.
“It is rocket science. Nothing’s guaranteed. We’ve had difficulties. NASA had problems when they were building their first spaceships as well,” Branson said in an interview in April. “I’m pretty convinced by this summer a large new spacecraft will go into space. Then I think by September myself and my family will have been into space. I’m 90 percent convinced that will happen.”
So far, over 700 people have paid $250,000 for a seat aboard Virgin Galactic, including other celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Russell Brand and Tom Hanks. Even Lady Gaga is on board, with plans to become the first artist to sing a song in space during the three-day "Zero G Colony high-tech musical festival."
Check out a video of Virgin Galactic completing its third powered flight below.