Chinese Tourists May Soon Set Out For The Final Frontier
When you have all the money in the world, you've probably seen most of what Earth has to offer. You've likely been to all the hottest tourist destinations, all the best vacation spots, and more or less every premiere resort. Where else is there to go?
Before the end of 2014, Chinese tourists with the means will be able to take a trip outside the bounds of Earth's atmosphere.
A Netherlands-based space tourism firm by the name of the Space Expedition Corporation has signed an agreement with a Chinese Domestic Travel Agency by the name of Dexo Travel. This agreement will allow the agency to book tickets into space through SXC to the tune of $95,000 USD. The trip - which will be taken on the Lynx Mark I Spacecraft - already has more than a hundred people interested, and registration on the Chinese mainland has just begun.
While the Mark I is set to begin flights before the year's end, the company's also working on getting a Lynx Mark II up and running by 2015. Both craft are produced by private aerospace firm XCOR Aerospace, and are only equipped to carry one astronaut and one tourist. The trip isn't a long one, either: the $95,000 premium will only get tourists into space for up to five or six minutes, allowing them a view of both space and a third of Earth.
It's not exactly the sort of purchase your average consumer's going to spring for, but there's clearly a market for this sort of thing. After all, not many people get the opportunity to say they've been into space. If I had the money, I can't say I wouldn't buy it myself. Who knows? Perhaps as this sort of thing becomes more common, and the technology associated with space travel more advanced, spaceflight might end up eventually being the sort of thing anyone can afford.
Never hurts to dream, right?