Once his commercial space tourism dream has been made a reality, Richard Branson plans on next turning his attention to revolutionizing air travel back here on Earth. 

The 63-year-old has revealed that he'll soon begin researching development of a commercial supersonic plane capable of quickly shuttling passengers anywhere in the world. Such an enterprise would mark the first time since the retirement of the Concorde in 2003 that people would have access to supersonic travel. 

"If we get it right, New York to Tokyo could be less than an hour," he told CNBC. "You could be traveling at 19,000 miles per hour orbitally."

The Concorde, which had a top speed of 1300mph, could go from New York to London in 3.5 hours. 

"After we've done the space programme, we will be producing supersonic planes, which will go far, far, faster than Concorde," Branson said. 

With Branson's Virgin Galactic throwing so much money into research and development on their sub-orbital spacecraft, it makes sense that there would be designs and breakthroughs easily applicable to other industries. And speaking of space, Branson is bullish that everyone alive today will hopefully be able to afford a seat in the future.

“I am hopeful that most people in this room in their lifetime should have an opportunity to become astronauts," he told students during a recent Q&A session. "We are going to have to build a lot more spaceships to accommodate them but I think hopefully a good percentage of you will have a chance to go into space or be able to afford it. That is our challenge and we will do our best to deliver."
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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

After space, Richard Branson to focus on development of supersonic commercial planes
Billionaire hopes to fly passengers from New York to Tokyo in only one hour.