Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Travel agent books seat into space
Mr Burkinshaw said he was only too willing to pay. "It's a lot of money but I want to be among the first," he said. "I've done skydiving many times and travelled all round the globe, but this is going to be fantastic."And his girlfriend is quite understanding. "She knows I'm into astrophysics and all that sort of thing," he said. "There's a lot of money going into commercial space travel and there's nothing to worry about." Sir Richard's Virgin Galactic company unveiled a model of its vessel, SpaceShip Two, this year, and testing is due to start in the summer. Its first flights are expected early in 2010, with take-off and landing in New Mexico, in the USA. The first 200 passengers are now signed up to fly. They have to undergo medical assessments, including whether they can withstand the G-forces of extra terrestrial flight. An American company, Wyle, whose Life Sciences Group has four decades of supporting the space agency Nasa, has been brought in by Virgin Galactic to provide medical and management expertise to prepare passengers for spaceflight. The cost of the 150-minute trip is £100,000, but Sir Richard, who has a house in Kidlington, has been quoted as saying it could go down to about £10,000 in a few years. If you fancy booking a flight, call the tour operator Elegant Resorts on 01244 897000.