New Reality Show Sends Winners Into Space

Dennis Faas's picture

NBC is taking reality television where it's never gone before: space. The American TV network says it's reached a new agreement with producer Mark Burnett and Virgin Galactic -- the space travel service of the stars -- to launch reality show contestants into space.

Unfortunately, the show doesn't actually take place in space. Instead, contestants on "Space Race" will compete with one another to win a flight on board Virgin Galactic's own SpaceShipTwo space craft.

At the moment SpaceShipTwo is being tested at California's Mojave Air and Space Port. Virgin Galactic hopes that, once those tests are complete (sometime in the next year), they'll be able to start sending paying customers into space.

Wealthy Travelers Anxiously Await 'Democratization' of Space

Right now over 600 people have already deposited $250,000 for a seat on a SpaceShipTwo flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

That means it could be some time before NBC actually launches a reality show winner into the stars.

Still, those behind the "Space Race" project -- including Burnett (who brought us reality shows like "Survivor and "The Voice") and British billionaire Richard Branson -- are very serious about making it a reality. (Source:

"The scope of this endeavor is so staggering that it took these two titans [Branson and Burnett] to even imagine it," said NBC programming executive Paul Telegdy.

"The term 'trip of a lifetime' has for once been delivered on! This will be a remarkable experience for anyone who has looked at the night's sky and dared to dream of spaceflight." (Source:

For Branson, the show represents one important step towards the 'democratization' of space exploration. Branson has said that Virgin Galactic's mission is to "eventually [make] commercial space travel affordable and accessible to all."

Burnett Burned Once Before

This isn't the first time producer Burnett has tried to make a space travel reality show. More than a decade ago he pitched "Destination Mir," based around the idea of flying people to Russia's Mir space station.

Unfortunately, Russia decided to ditch the 15-year-old Mir in March 2001, well before Burnett could finalize plans for a show.

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