Beijing : Chinese travelers will be able to take space trips by the end of 2014 thanks to an agreement signed in Beijing between a Chinese travel agency and Netherlands-based space tourism firm Space Expedition Corporation (SXC).
Travelers will pay a minimum of 580,000 yuan (about 95,000 U.S.dollars) to board the Lynx Mark I spacecraft produced by the U.S. private aerospace company XCOR, said Zhang Yong, chief executive officer of Dexo Travel, a Chinese travel agency focusing on high-end travelers.
Participants will receive one week of physical training at Royal Dutch Airlines or Air France before their space trip, said Zhang.
“The spaceship only carries one tourist, who sits in the co-pilot seat, and a pilot astronaut,” he said.
“The spaceship arrives in outer space 60 minutes after its take-off and will fly in space for 20 minutes while the tourist enjoys the view of the earth and space,” he said.
The Lynx Mark I spacecraft, which is expected to begin flights in the fourth quarter of 2014, will take participants into sub-space to a height of 60 km. The Lynx Mark II spacecraft, which is expected to start flights in 2015, will take participants into space to a height of 103 km, said Alex Tang, CEO of SXC Asia.
A total of 100 travelers will board the Lynx Mark I. There will be no quota for the number of participants on the Lynx Mark II, said Tang.
As Chinese customers have shown great interest in space trips, SXC has reserved at least six spots for Chinese on the Lynx Mark I, he said.
The spacecraft is constructed of lightweight materials and is powered by common bio-fuels and reusable rocket propulsion. The engines are designed for more than 5,000 flights, instead of just one, which is a breakthrough in the history of rocket development, according to the SXC official website.- Xinhua