Artist's sketch of Virgin Galactic's launch craft, the VMS Eve and spacecraft, the VSS Enterprise, in flight.
The Virgin Galactic consortium---the people who are offering trips into space to regular folks--- understands the desire in man to go to new places...to push the frontier...to get the heartbeat elevated. That would be Charles Barton Rice.
"I've always wanted to get away" said Mr. Rice, "and look from up there...down."
Since his sold "Barton Protective Services" six years ago, Charles Barton Rice has spent his time and fortune on philanthropy.
"My mother...my father...they were always giving" he said. "And that's where I get it."
His big project is to transform his hometown, Blakely, Georgia into a twenty first century tech center.
That's for the long term.
For the short term he has set his sights a bit higher.
"I said Catherine... Please. Can I do this?" Mr. Rice recalled. "And she says do you really want to? I said yes."
His beloved wife Catherine knows her husband well.
"He's such an adventuresome soul" Catherine Rice said. "He loves risk...whether that was in his business or riding motorcycles which he is not allowed to do anymore."
From the bullet car he rode as a child made from a b-twenty nine fuel tank...to the Bugatti he rides today over two hundred miles an hour (on a closed track) Charles Barton Rice has been wired for adventure.
"This will be the culmination" he said, "I think, of what I will remember and take to my grave."
He has always been in good physical shape. But the day he committed to the virgin galactic space flight he hired a personal trainer.
He says he is ready to go now...but realistically expects to fly into space within two years.
And what do you do for an encore?
Oh, he'll think of something.