Preparations for Richard Branson’s inaugural commercial space flight are in full force and this week, the billionaire announced that NBC was tasked with covering the lead-up and the flight itself. If everything goes according to plan Branson and his two children – Holly, 31, and Sam, 28 – could blast off from new Mexico on board the irgin Galactic SpaceShip Two rocket plane as soon as next August. This is looking increasingly likely, after Branson announced that the aircraft had successfully broken the sound barrier during tests already.

Richard Branson, Novak Djokovic Foundation Gala Dinner
Branson is almost ready for takeoff.

"We are delighted that we are going to be working with you," Branson, 63, told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, the hosts of NBC television's "Today" morning show.

"It is going to be an incredibly exciting year," he said.

The network is preparing to host an entire television event around the flight, with a special program airing the night before the flat. On the day, Guthrie and Lauer will host a live event, broadcasting before, during and after the launch.

"We are very, very happy to be part of this project," Lauer said, adding that NBC will be a part of the entire process.

Matt Lauer, Today ShowSavannah Guthrie, Today Show
Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie will be covering the whole thing.

Branson and his children will be the first passengers aboard the aircraft, which can carry two pilots and a total of six passengers. The other passengers for the inaugural flight are yet to be announced. Over 700 people have already signed up for subsequent flights, with a seat costing around $250 000. The waiting list already includes the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio and Stephen Hawking.

Leonardo DiCaprio, LACMA
Space flights have already been booked by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio.