Hollywood star Morgan Freeman has signed up as a passenger on the world's first commercial space shuttle voyage.

The Shawshank Redemption actor has paid $216,000 (GBP120,000) to be among the eight passengers on the Virgin Galactic spaceship when it launches in 2008.

A Virgin Galactic spokesperson says, "We're delighted Morgan is coming onboard. He will be joining a host of stars keen to come on the ultimate thrill ride with permission to fly around the Earth on the first ever space package trip."

The 68-year-old will be joined by Sigourney Weaver, Paris Hilton, William Shatner and Victoria Principal and 30,000 other wannabe astronauts on the tourism program.