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Entries in space tourism (4)

Monday
Aug222011

Room with an Orbital View - 557

Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft on its way to launch. Photo by spatlanHere at Galavanting, we’ve made no secret about our obsession with space travel (alright, my obsession). And, surprise, surprise, here’s some more news about touring the final frontier. According to Reuters, several Russian companies unveiled plans to develop that country’s space tourism industry.

One such company, Orbital Technologies, hopes to build an orbiting hotel by 2016. The hotel will accommodate seven guests for five days at $1 million a pop. Orbiting at 217 miles above the Earth, “the hotel would be more comfortable than the space station, but did not promise luxury.”

Orbital Technologies made its announcement alongside other Russian firms looking to enter the space tourism industry at MAKS air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow. Now that NASA has retired its shuttle program, different companies are entering the space tourism game. One company, state-owned RKK Energia plans to build a replacement shuttle for the 40-year-old Soyuz craft currently used by Russia. Currently, the Soyuz is the only way to join up with the International Space Station, though costs $50 million dollars a ride.

The Russians have a lot of catching up to do, according to both foreign and state officials. It’s an upward climb to obtain funding, especially when compared to private firms in the United States. In the article:

Russian officials say at least one of four U.S. companies at the forefront of the commercial space industry could develop space taxis by 2016 to take astronauts into low Earth orbit, up to an altitude of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles).

Russia, on the other hand, has to contend with older equipment, race against established companies like Boeing to replace the existing Soyuz and also develop a new tourism program, whereas these problems are less of an issue in the better-funded programs of the US.

Tuesday
Mar152011

Travel Contest: TripAlertz Epic Journey into Space! - 506

TripAlertz will send you to space via the XCOR LynxSo your best friend just came back with a ton of photos and stories about their latest adventures to Kathmandu. You’re seething with jealousy, as it sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Well, fret not, as you can do infinitely better. Like, literally: TripAlertz is hosting a contest to send a lucky traveler into space.

The group-buying travel deals site already offers a trip far below Virgin Galactic’s $200,000 ticket price (at $95,000) though it’s still not exactly attainable. As more people buy into the deal, though, the price will go down. The TripAlertz Epic Journey into Space includes a five-night stay at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa during training and preparation, medical evaluation and screening, a cancellation insurance policy, and the Lynx flight itself. A deposit of $20,000 begins the process of assigning each space tourist to the training and qualification program.

To enter the giveaway, you must first be a member of Tripalertz, granting you one entry. Bonus entries can be obtained in a number of ways. Refering your friends to TripAlertz gains you an entry for each person who joins. Additionally, every dollar you spend through the site for hotels, cruises, and travel garners you more entries. The latter route also funnels 1% of TripAlertz net revenues to its featured charity Pachamama Alliance and their 4YEARS.GO Collective Action Initiative.

The grand prize is one helluva trip. The winner will recieve five nights of luxury resort accommodations during space flight training and preparation as well as a seat on the XCOR Aerospace Lynx Vehicle.The contest runs until June 21, when the winner will be drawn randomly live on broadband-streamed television at the “TripAlertz Summer Solstice Party.”

The hottest ticket in travel of late is definitely for space flight. Blow your Kathmandu-trekking friend out of the water by flying through the atmosphere!

Friday
Jan072011

'Round the Webz: A goat, Carnival, outer space, bed bugs and dead birds - 471

We’re working for the weekend and what a weekend it will be! Storms bill buffet the Northeast but for those with better fortunes in warmer climes, there’s always New Orleans and the start of the Carnival season.

Source: MSNBC[1] Now this is traveling in style. [Source: MSNBC]

[2] New Orleans kicks of Carnival! Who wants to go party? [Source: Huffington Post]

[3] 2011’s top travel trend? Space. Everyone will talk about space. [Source: Sentinel]

[4] Bed bugs are taking over (still)! At least, they are in this hilarious clip:

[5] Well, the world is ending, or something, as birds fall from the skies. Click through for a map plotting the deaths. Or you can start dusting off your Y2K bunkers. Whichevs. [Source: Gizmodo]

Monday
Oct112010

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Test Flight - 428

Photo by Mark Greenberg, courtesy of Virgin GalacticIn a follow-up to an announcement weeks ago, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic sent its SpaceShipTwo on a test flight over the weekend.

The manned flight over the Mojave Desert consisted of SpaceShipTwo being assisted by mothership WhiteKnightTwo to 45,000 feet before gliding safely down onto an airport runway. The test flight, which took 25 minutes with 11 minutes of free flight for the SpaceShipTwo, is just the first of many tests in Virgin’s quest to expand into space tourism. Branson, the company’s president, told the Associated Press “This was a very big step. We now know that the spaceship glides. We know it can be dropped safely from the mothership and we know it can land safely. That’s three big ticks.”

As previously reported, Virgin Galactic already has $50 million in deposits from 370 customers eager to be the first space tourists. On Oct. 22, there will be a ceremony commemorating the finished runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico, featuring a fly-over of both Galactic vessels.

Check out video of the test flight below.