While XCOR has been busy building its first Lynx spacecraft in Mojave this summer, things have been ramped up in another hot spot, Curacao, where the plan for commercial suborbital space flights in 2014 is coming together.
Space Expedition Curacao (formerly Space Experience Curacao) has sold 34 tickets and expects to reach 50 sales by the end of the year. Ticket holders include Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes, four-time DJ of the Year Armin van Buuren, and San Francisco Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulen. Charles Lurio of The Lurio Report says that total ticket sales for Lynx Mark I
and II flights are approaching 100.
Lurio also reports that SXC and XCOR have finalized the wet lease that will allow the Lynx March II production vehicle to fly from the Caribbean island.
“We have made a big down payment,” SXC’s Ben Droste said during a Sept. 2 Countdown Party held on the beach at the Baoase Resort in Curacao. “We are allowed to call ourselves owner, once we have completed the full payment.”
Lurio says that the payment is in the seven-figure range, i.e., over $1 million.
Although a memorandum of understanding was signed last year, the wet lease was not finalized until recently. Curacao Minister of Economic Development Nasser El Hakim said time was required to work out all the financial arrangements as well as to pass a law that will allow SXC to fly commercial spaceflights from Hato International Airport.
The Countdown Party wasn’t the only SXC-related event held over the summer. The Dutch DJ and Lynx ticket holder van Buuren helped to unveil a full-scale replica of the vehicle on Aug. 26 during the Summer Fair, an uber exclusive event held by Miljonair in Noordwijk. The annual fair was attended by Dutch millionaires and movers and shakers, the very people who could afford $95,000 rides into space.
“The SP-1 is an incredible impressive thing,” van Buuren said. “Just thinking about floating around in one of those, hovering about 100 km above the Earth, gives me goose bumps. Even if I have to wait another three years. I think it is great that SXC and the Summer Fair chose to introduce the spacecraft to the world for the first time, in the Netherlands. I am feeling extremely proud I am the one to reveal it to the world.”
XCOR is now assembling the first Lynx test vehicle in Mojave. It expects to begin test flights next Fall.