Talking to The Sun, Cowell said: "Richard Branson is the sponsor of the show with Virgin. We are trying to work out a way so that the winner of the show gets to go up in the spacecraft and will be the first person to perform in space."
Cowell hopes to join the winner — which could feasibly be a plate-spinning dog or a talking cat — in the shuttle. "I would go on the spaceship myself — you have to have a lot of training. I love the idea that, if they are up for it, then they have the option of performing in front of the whole planet in space."
As well as discussing space-based flights of fancy, Cowell opened up about his disappointing 2011, which saw falling ratings for The X Factor and a less-than-impressive reaction to its US counterpart.
"I did get too arrogant, everyone does. When you have a very good year like I did in 2010 you get a bit cocky. You think you are great, then you get a bit of a smack," he said.
He also revealed that he "poached" Alesha Dixon from Strictly Come Dancing to upset the BBC following their ratings war with The X Factor.