Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey is among those who believe the technology being developed by Branson's "spaceline" will quickly move beyond joy rides for the well-heeled.
Godfrey, who has paid $280,870 to be among the first to head into space when Virgin Galactic begins operations, can see the concept developing into a new form of travel.
The Virgin boss is far from starry-eyed about his pending trip into the fringes of space. He insists he did not have a lifelong dream to become an astronaut. Instead, he is keen on understanding a technological advance he predicts will produce important spin-offs. He believes there's no reason technology similar to that used by Galactic will not eventually be used for sub-orbital flights between continents.
Instead of cruising back down to the same place, passengers will be able to go to another spaceport on another continent, the airline executive predicts.
"The reason I've invested my money is that I want to be part of the technology and understand it as best we can because I believe this will be the way of the future," he says.
"If, in 10 or 15 years, we're not getting to London in 45 minutes from Sydney, then we will have gone backwards.
"And it doesn't have to be done at a higher fuel cost."