Dutch travel firm to fly Chinese tourists into space in late 2014

BEIJING, China - Chinese travelers will be able to take space trips by the end of 2014 thanks to an agreement signed on Friday in Beijing between a Chinese travel agency and a Netherlands-based space

Dutch travel firm to fly Chinese tourists into space in late 2014

BEIJING, China – Chinese travelers will be able to take space trips by the end of 2014 thanks to an agreement signed on Friday in Beijing between a Chinese travel agency and a Netherlands-based space tourism firm Space Expedition Corporation (SXC).

Travelers will pay a minimum of 580,000 yuan (US$95,000) to board the Lynx Mark I spacecraft produced by the US private aerospace company XCOR, said Zhang Yong, chief executive officer of Dexo Travel, a Chinese travel agency with a high-end clientele.

Participants will receive one week of physical training at Royal Dutch Airlines or Air France before their space trip, said Zhang.

“The spaceship can only carry one tourist, who sits in the co-pilot seat, and an astronaut,” he said.

“The spaceship arrives in outer space 60 minutes after take-off and will fly in space for 20 minutes while the tourist enjoys the view of the earth and space,” he said.

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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 passengers on the Lynx Mark I, he said.

The spacecraft was constructed with 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, according to the SXC official website.

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