What’s On has details of a competition to send an Emirati into space on board Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

One Emirati will win a trip into space on board billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket ship.

Virgin Galactic has teamed up with Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments to launch a competition to win a seat – worth more than Dhs900k – on SpaceShipTwo.

“The specifics of the competition are being finalised but this is an ideal way for us all to give something back to the community of the UAE,” Virgin Galactic CEO and president George Whitesides said of the nationwide competition.

“Without the support of Aabar Investments this programme would not be where it is today. We are on the precipice of achieving our first goal – our first flight to space – which is expected to take place later this year.”

The winning Emirati astronaut will get to take off when SpaceShipTwo begins making regular commercial flights into space next year.

There looks set to be almost as many stars inside SpaceShipTwo as outside the windows when it does take off, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Katy Perry among those who have already paid deposits for a suborbital flight.

Virgin boss Sir Richard unveiled the spaceship to the public in 2009 in California’s Mojave Desert.

The craft is thought to be capable of accommodating six passengers and two pilots. A trip on board will incorporate a short period of weightlessness, meaning passengers will be able to release themselves from their seats and float around the cabin.

Aabar owns a 37.8 per cent stake in the space travel company.