The Ultimate Adventure at the Ultimate PriceMarch 20, 2012
For those who want the ultimate adventure, trips to the edge of space will soon be available. Unfortunately, the price tag for this type of adventure will be out reach for most people. But for those with thick wallets who are not adverse to risk, near Earth space experiences will be available very soon.
In a high desert valley near Truth or Consequence, New Mexico the first commercial spaceport is being built. It will be called Spaceport America. It is the brainchild of British billionaire, Richard Branson. When finished, Spaceport America will have cost New Mexico taxpayers 217 million dollars. The State of New Mexico has put up the money in hopes that it will become a hot destination for thrill seekers from all over the world.
The premise is simple, and the journey short-lived. A tourist craft will be attached to a mother ship. The mother ship will climb high above Earth and then release the tourist craft. This craft will continue on to an altitude of 350,000 feet. At that high altitude, passengers will experience weightlessness for about four minutes before returning to Earth. The cost for this four-minute adventure is $200,000. Branson says that his company has already signed up fifty people for the trip. It might just be the most expensive four-minute journey in history!
Another company called Space Expedition Curacao, plans to take people into space in a small rocket ship. The rocket is so small it can only hold one pilot and one passenger. The rocket ship will become airborne like a jet plane and then will travel straight up to the edge of space. The journey will take about four minutes one way. The company plans to have four flights per day because the rocket ship runs on jet fuel. This means it can land, refuel, take on a new passenger and take off again. The company envisions that within two decades it will be able to fly from London to Sydney in two hours. Each four-minute flight into space will cost a more “reasonable” $95,000.
And for those who want to go even further into space, a company called Space Adventure is offering trips that will circumnavigate the moon. Because the company has a partnership with Russia, they are able to utilize its Soyuz vehicle for the trips. The journey will cost 150 million dollars per person, and one passenger has already signed up. If one more person signs on, the vehicle is projected to fly in 2015!