Bransons in battle for space glory
Virgin Galactic boss Sir Richard Branson has a competitor in the space race... Richard Branson.
The business supremo is expected to blast into orbit by the end of next year with his children as the first passengers when the Virgin Galactic space tourism programme begins.
They are hoping to fly 60 miles into space on the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) aircraft.
But Sir Richard now faces competition from his namesake - a 31-year-old father-of-one. Mr Branson has signed up for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime space mission scheduled to happen in 2014.
If Sir Richard's plans are delayed he could find himself losing out to the operations manager from Tunbridge Wells.
Grooming brand Lynx will send 22 ordinary people from around the world - including one from the UK and Ireland - into orbit after launching the competition with space legend Buzz Aldrin.
Mr Branson said: "I've always envied the other Richard and his plans for space travel.
"I can't believe I am now in with the chance of being the first Branson in space. I would love to beat my namesake to the punch."
Asked what his message to Sir Richard was, he answered: "I had the honour of asking him in person last year 'What comes next after he has conquered space?'.
"He replied with 'The deep sea'. So my message would be 'See you at the bottom'."