SpaceShipTwo to Shuttle Space Tourists

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Starting in 2011, you will be able to boldly go where just a handful of men have gone before. For a price.

A group of American entrepreneurs is preparing to launch the second-ever privately funded space vehicle, carrying just about anyone willing to pony up the required $200,000 for this touristic adventure. Dubbed “SpaceShipTwo,” the small rocket-propelled craft, which is the size of a small airplane, is reportedly in the final stages of construction with its first test flights scheduled for early 2010.

The ship will carry wealthy travelers to a height of 50,000 feet above sea level – about 20,000 feet higher than most airliners. At that point, the ship’s rocket engine will fire and send the new space travelers to the boundary between the earth’s atmosphere and space. Passengers will then enter a free-fall phase, allowing them to experience weightlessness for several minutes.

The project follows an earlier ship dubbed “SpaceShipOne,” which flew in 2004 as the first privately-funded manned space vehicle.

The company working to organize the ship’s first passenger flights says that thus far 300 people have paid in full for a flight on the ship with thousands more expressing interest. The company says its target market is wealthy folks like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.


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