Tag: space tourism

Golfer Wins Trip to Space for Hole-in-One

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More than 40 years after Alan Shepard played golf on the moon, another golfer will be heading for space. However, he won’t get a chance to use his 5 iron to play out of the rough.

European Tour player Andy Sullivan made a hole-in-one on the 15th hole at the Kennemer Golf & Country Club in the KLM Open. For sinking the shot from 163 yards away, Sullivan won a trip to space aboard XCOR’s Lynx suborbital vehicle.

BREAKING NEWS: Jim Tighe to Depart Scaled Composites — UPDATED

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SpaceShipTwo on a glide flight with WhiteKnightTwo above it. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

SpaceShipTwo on a glide flight with WhiteKnightTwo above it. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Updated with statement from Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The chief aerodynamicist credited with designing SpaceShipTwo is departing the program on the eve of a crucial series of flight tests designed that Virgin Galactic hopes will lead to the start of commercial suborbital space tourism operations early next year.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Jim Tighe announced on Thursday that he would be leaving his position as chief aerodynamicist at Scaled Composites in two weeks for a job at an unnamed aerospace company. It is not clear what prompted the move.

Update: Reports indicate Tighe will be working for an aviation start-up based in Silicon Valley.

Continue reading ‘BREAKING NEWS: Jim Tighe to Depart Scaled Composites — UPDATED’

Lucky Golfer to Win Trip to Space on Lynx

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Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

AMSTERDAM (KLM PR) — It has been announced that the first player to make a hole-in-one on the 15th hole of the KLM Open will win a trip into space courtesy of XCOR Space Expeditions.

As part of a prize package worth US$100,000 this latest offering for an ace is sure to make an unprecedented impression on players and spectators of the event, which will be held at the Kennemer Golf & Country Club from the September 11-14.

Continue reading ‘Lucky Golfer to Win Trip to Space on Lynx’

Branson Says First Flight From New Mexico in February or March

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In this clip from “The Late Show With David Letterman,” Virgin Galactic Founder Richard Branson says he will be on the first flight of SpaceShipTwo from New Mexico in February or March 2015.

XCOR Selling Tickets to Wealthy Chinese

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Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

The New York Times reports on XCOR’s progress in selling suborbital space tourism flights to wealthy Chinese citizens:

Already, more than 30 mainland Chinese have purchased or made down payments of 50 percent on tickets for journeys offered by XCOR Aerospace, a company based in Mojave, Calif., that plans to begin operating suborbital flights late next year. The tours went on sale in China in December, two years after the company began selling them elsewhere, and one in 10 of all bookings have been by Chinese citizens, according to Dexo Travel, the Beijing-based sales agent in China for the trips….

“There are wealthy people everywhere in the world, but there are not so many wealthy people who also dream of going into space,” said Alex Tang, chief executive of XCOR Aerospace’s Asia operation. China, he said, had both. In a survey this year of more than 200 Chinese luxury travelers by the Shanghai-based research firm Hurun, about 7 percent said they hoped to visit space within the next three years.

Mr. Tang attributed the Chinese passion for space travel to the recent successes of the nation’s space program. “Many want to go to space like Yang Liwei,” he said, referring to the astronaut who circled the Earth in 2003 and came home a national hero for bringing China into the ranks of space-faring nations.

Zhang Yong, chief executive of Dexo Travel, described the people booking seats as business executives and entrepreneurs who already have luxury homes and cars and are turning their sights beyond earthly objects. Two-thirds are male, he said. Influenced by books and films like “Gravity,” a hit in China, they long for the transcendent experience of gazing upon Earth from space, Mr. Zhang said.

Read the full story.

German Space Tourism Company Seeks Funds, Hopes Virgin Galactic Succeeds

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Earth_from_space_graphic
It’s an old story: you’ve got a great idea that you know will work and make wheelbarrows of money, but you don’t have any funds to develop it.

Such is the case for V-Plane, a Hamburg company that designs small aircraft that wants to go into the space tourism business. The company has designed an 8-passenger suborbital space plane that with tickets costing 150,000 euros ($185,000) per person.

Continue reading ‘German Space Tourism Company Seeks Funds, Hopes Virgin Galactic Succeeds’

Mojave Watch: Suborbital Space Planes Prep for Flights

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Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Here’s some Saturday morning reading for all of you on suborbital vehicles now being assembled and tested here in Mojave:

  • P.J. O’Rourke has an entertaining account of his recent visit to visit XCOR, where he likes what he finds;
  • Private Eye takes a look at 15 years worth of unfulfilled promises by Richard Branson to send tourists to space; and,
  • Pat Hynes believes that regular flights of Branson’s SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico are, at best, about a year away.

Up to a Point: A ‘Space Corvette’ in Every Garage
The Daily Beast

“The Lynx’s 30-foot fuselage and 24-foot wingspan would fit in a McMansion garage. And it’s as prettier than anything a rich car collector has in there now.”

Beam us up, Beardie!
Private Eye

“WHEN will Sir Richard Branson launch himself into space? ‘What people forget is that it is rocket science,’ he quipped in February. ‘It is complicated. But now every box has been ticked and we’re nearly there.’ Er, how nearly? ‘We have a launch date this summer… By September, I hope to have gone to space.’

“September is upon us, so presumably Beardie Lightyear is now aboard his rocket, preparing to slip the surly bonds of earth with a cry of ‘To infinity and beyond!’ Or, on past form, perhaps not…”

Private space taking shape: Virgin Galactic delays not fatal
Las Cruces Bulletin

“Creating a time line based on past tests of the of its spaceliner, Hynes said a more realistic time line to expect seeing Spaceport America become a frequent destination for those who have $200,000 to $250,000 to spare for a thrill ride is, at best, a year away.

“’That means we can prepare,’ she said. ‘We have time.’”

Sarah Brightman to Begin Space Training Early Next Year

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sarah_brightman

Sarah Brightman

An update on singer Sarah Brightman’s space tourism trip to the International Space Station (ISS) next year:

British famed soprano singer Sarah Brightman would begin pre-flight trainings for her journey to the International Space Station (ISS) as a space tourist early next year, instead of this autumn, Yuri Lonchakov, the head of the Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, said on Wednesday.

“She will begin trainings in the Star City in January of 2015 and therefore we are all waiting for her,” Lonchakov said adding that he believed “her training will be a success.”

Less than three months ago Lonchakov said that the famous singer had already passed a number of medical examination and tests and was ready to begin preparations for the trip to the ISS at the Star City space training facility in the Moscow Region in September or October.

Lonchakov’s earlier statement that Brightman could start her trainings this autumn was also confirmed in June by the president of the US-based company in charge of organizing her trip.

Read the full story.

Mars One Launches Competition for Lynx Suborbital Flight

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Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

Amersfoort, The Netherlands, Sept. 4, 2014 (Mars One PR) – Today Mars One announces their Ticket To Rise campaign (http://urgencynetwork.com/marsone) to give space-enthusiasts a chance to win a private trip to space. Participants earn entries into the space trip drawing in exchange for joining the campaign.

Continue reading ‘Mars One Launches Competition for Lynx Suborbital Flight’

Promotional Video for Land Rover’s Win a Trip to Space Contest

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Video Caption: This is your chance to go on the ultimate adventure. You and your friends could win a trip to space on a Virgin Galactic commercial flight, courtesy of Land Rover.

Editor’s Note: It’s interesting the competition has one winner and three friends. This is what sources tell me that capacity has been reduced to in the passenger cabin due to changes to SpaceShipTwo. Nobody has acknowledged this officially, but this is a clue that the reports are true.

On a related note, it’s good to see Spaceport America finally being used for something other than the occasional sounding rocket launch. The place has a definite future for cool commercials.