To call London ad superstar Trevor Beattie a space cadet wouldn't be far off. Beattie has signed up (and sent in $210,000) to be on the first flight of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space shuttle, unveiled Sept. 27.
Branson has partnered with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Mojave Aerospace Ventures and with Burt Rutan, who designed SpaceShipOne, to create a commercial ship that will take people on two-hour trips into space. "When he announced he was going to do it, I put in a call and said, 'Sign me up!' " says Beattie, 41, chairman and creative director of TBWA\London, which will also handle ads for Virgin Galactic. "The flight won't be happening for two years yet," Beattie says. "But it's important to remind people that it's not a dream anymore."
Beattie, perhaps best know for creating the FCUK campaign, says his fascination with space travel came from being "a child of the Apollo generation. I watched the moon landings. My first record I ever got was 'Space Oddity,' by David Bowie. It's a schoolboy's dream. Why not?"
It won't be the first space exploration for Beattie. Two years ago he took a ride to the edge of space in the world's fastest jet, a Russian MiG-25, and experienced weightlessness for a few seconds. "I took a passenger with me, a model of Buzz Lightyear, to prove Buzz could fly," Beattie says. "In a few years, I'll help Buzz return to space, courtesy of Virgin Galactic."