Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Requiem for a recorder'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Liberian authorities admit 17 patients are missing

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing Foley execution images

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

First space ticket sold to Dane for $95,000

Latest update : 2008-12-03

A Californian company has sold the first ticket for a suborbital flight to Danish investment banker Per Wimmer, who could take off as early as 2011. At $95,000 dollars, it is half the price of its competitor Virgin Galactic's offer.

Reuters — The space tourism race heated up on Tuesday when a second company began offering tickets for suborbital rides at less than half the price of competitor Virgin Galactic's.

XCOR Aerospace Inc of California said it is partnering with long-time tour developer and operator Jules Klar, co-creator of the 1960s-era "Europe on $5 a Day" guides, to sell rides aboard its Lynx spaceship for $95,000.

The two-seat Lynx craft is under development at XCOR's Mojave Desert base and test flights are scheduled to begin in 2010. Danish investment banker Per Wimmer will take the first ride when paid flights begin, possibly as early as 2011.

The service is similar to trips being sold by Virgin Atlantic Airways' offshoot, Virgin Galactic, which plans to operate a fleet of suborbital spaceships based on the world's first privately developed manned spacecraft, SpaceShipOne.

Aircraft designer Burt Rutan and his company, Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, built SpaceShipOne to win a $10 million prize in 2004.

Rutan is overseeing development of a seven-person craft known as SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic, which is offering flights into zero-gravity for $200,000.

Virgin Galactic expects to begin test flights in 2009 or 2010, with commercial service after that. More than 200 would-be passengers have put down deposits of at least $20,000 since Virgin Galactic began selling tickets in 2005.

Lynx passengers will fly in the cockpit with a former space shuttle commander by their side. Richard Searfoss, a retired Air Force colonel and astronaut who made three spaceflights before leaving NASA in 1998, is XCOR's pilot.

The actual trip to an altitude of 38 miles (61 km), high enough to escape much of earth's atmosphere but not high enough to go into orbit, takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish, but Klar said the package includes five nights at a luxury retreat in Arizona, where participants will be prepared for the flight and receive medical checkups.

Passengers will experience about a minute of weightlessness, but unlike Virgin's fliers, they will be strapped down and wearing pressurized spacesuits.

Travelers will be able to look out from wide cockpit windows to view Earth below.

"Flying with XCOR is going to be more like 'The Right Stuff,'" said Searfoss, referring to the Tom Wolfe book, later adapted into a movie, about NASA's original Mercury Seven astronauts.

The company expects to be able to make up to four flights a day. The Lynx spacecraft takes off and lands horizontally like an airplane, with no need for a launch pad.

"As long as you have good airspace and a 10,000-foot (3,033-metre) runway, you can fly them anywhere," said XCOR spokesman Douglas Graham.

Date created : 2008-12-03

COMMENT(S)