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Space travel isn’t just for astronauts anymore.
Two companies announced a partnership to start sending private citizens to suborbital space as early as 2012. Space Adventures will take the reservations and arrange the flights. Armadillo Aerospace is making the rocket.
Currently in the concept stage, the rocket ship, called SOST (suborbital space transport), will blast two passengers straight up, 62 miles above Earth, into suborbital space. Passengers will have breathtaking views of Earth and the stars while experiencing zero-G weightlessness.
The price? Well, if you aren’t already rich, you have a lot of saving to do. At $102,000, the SOST may be out of reach for most people. But it’s a bargain compared to its only space flight competitor, Virgin Galactic, which asks $200,000. And it’s far more affordable than the $20 million that multimillionaire Dennis Tito paid to the Russian Space program in 2001 to spend eight days in orbit as the world’s first space tourist.
The whole Space Adventure package will last a few days, with time for training and instruction before the 30-minute flight. Passengers will have up to five minutes in actual space. The rest of the time is spent getting there and back.
The take-off pad for the passenger rocket is located in New Mexico and is currently the only spot for a private rocket to launch. But that’s today. One day, there really might be a chance to vacation among the stars.
“We believe that there will be multiple companies offering a range of different experiences up to and including suborbital space in the next few years,” says Neil Milburn, vice president of product management at Armadillo Aerospace. “This is an experience that every budding astronaut would want to share.”