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Destination Profile – SpaceMarch 26, 2013 By: Adam Leposa
|Photo by SXC|
Each week we’ll be profiling what’s hot in a new destination around the world. To kick things off, we’re going above it – to outer space.
Travel Agent sat down with Michiel Mol, CEO, and Eva Van Pelt, PR manager, of Space Exploration Corporation (SXC) to find out what’s new with space tourism.
Space Exploration Corporation, which was founded two years ago, is aiming to send travelers on a 45 minute to an hour journey 60 km above the Earth’s surface, Mol says. Passengers will experience five to six minutes of weightlessness, speeds close to Mach 2.9 and periods of acceleration up to 4.5 Gs. The single passenger sits in the cockpit next to the pilot, and can see the view out a 45.2 square foot glass canopy.
The flight requires a medical test comparable to the one needed to work in the airline industry, Mol says, but stresses that the experience will be available to a broad range of passengers. “If you do not have a serious heart condition, you should be able to fly,” Mol says, noting that the company has worked with passengers ranging in age from 18 to 84.
That’s important because SXC expects demand for space travel to grow as they near their launch date. In a survey conducted by the company, they estimated that by the year 2020, 20,000 people would both want to go to space and could afford SXC’s $100,000 ticket price.
That price includes a three-day stay in a five-star hotel near one of the company’s two launch sites, in Curacao or California, as well as a preflight training course. There are also three optional training missions available: a ride in the Desdemona G-force simulator, a flight in an L-39 Albatross Jet with brief periods of weightlessness or a flight in a stripped Boeing 737 that features longer periods of weightlessness.
Looking farther into the future, the company has even more extensive plans for space travel. Mol says that in 20 years, it could be possible to build a bigger successor spaceship that could conduct point-to-point flights on an arc above the Earth’s atmosphere. That kind of ship could make a flight from New York to Sydney in as little as an hour and a half – no more red eyes!
Travel agents can sell SXC flights by contacting the company through their agent page at http://spacexc.com/en/about-us/sxc-space-agents/. Agents will take part in a 1-day training program and, if they sell 10 spaceflights, will receive 1 free trip to space. The company offers 10 percent commission.