Well-to-do people’s sense of adventure was re-ignited recently by Richard Branson’s unveiling of the new Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo “Unity,” a two pilot, six passenger spaceship designed to reach altitudes 62 miles above earth and providing a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of our planet set against the blackness of space.
Over 700 people have reportedly signed on for this Virgin ride, which has already set them back $250,000 each. But thus far, no launch dates have been scheduled, as there are many months of trials and testing to be completed from the home base of the Mojave Space Port in California. As of yet, not even a year has been targeted for the maiden voyage.
Xcor may not have the publicity machine of billionaire Branson, but they are well on their way to making space travel for passengers an adventure to be experienced “sooner rather than later.”
The SOLD OUT Xcor Founder Astronaut Program is an exclusive adventure limited to the first 100 pioneers who will have the privilege of becoming astronauts, of which singer, anti-poverty campaigner and Live-Aid initiator Sir Bob Geldof is one. See his promotional video of this program here. Other exclusive Xcor programs that are not yet sold out include:
- $150,000 Pioneer Program aboard the LYNX Mark I reaching an altitude of 37+ miles departing from Mojave
- $150,000 Rookie Program aboard the LYNX Mark II reaching an altitude of 62+ miles with departure from Mojave or Curacao
- $185,000 Advanced Program aboard the LYNX Mark II reaching an altitude of 62+ miles with simulator training, pilot interview and hangar tour
- $150,000 Future Program aboard the LYNX Mark II reaching an altitude of 62+ miles, medical check, documentation of training missions and entire flight departing from Mojave or Curacao
- $235,000 Iconic Program including all of the Advanced Program features, full tailored video production including 5 mini-documentaries, guaranteed assignment flight slot number, Xcor Luminox Space Series Titanium Valjoux Chronograph and an Xcor Spacelife Jacket
According to the promotional website, each of the Xcor Space Travel Programs include the following unique experiences:
Unlike all other previously developed spacecraft, including the Space Shuttle, XCOR Lynx is equipped with an independent takeoff and landing system. The ship’s four revolutionary rocket engines can be shut down and restarted in-flight at any time. There are no disposable carrier rockets or landings at sea. Lynx simply departs from the runway at any spaceport, and glides back to a runway on return. You will find yourself sitting next to the pilot. The four engines start. Your space voyage has begun.
Astronauts say there is nothing that rivals the sensation of being launched like a bullet from a rolling start. Within one minute, you will break the sound barrier. As you ascend you will see the Earth’s surface morphed into swaths of color while pressed into your seat.
At Mach 2, you’re in Spyplane territory. You feel the enormous acceleration caused by the four powerful rocket engines. Soon you reach Mach 2.9. Only a handful of CIA and KGB pilots know what’s it like. So will you.
One moment it’s all roaring rocket engines, G-forces and vibrations. The next: perfect silence when the engines cut off it’s unlike anything you have experienced on Earth. Astronauts say this is one of the most profound moments of space flight. At engine switch-off, you are weightless – an extreme sensation.
At this point, you’re in Space and officially an astronaut. 6 Minutes of enjoying Planet Earth as only 500 people have done before. While returning into the Earth’s atmosphere, Lynx pulls 4 G’s in order to reduce speed. Only 20 seconds but truly, not a picnic.
Akin to being on the wings of an angel, enjoy the view during the 40-minute glide back to Earth, where upon your return, XCOR will award you astronaut’s wings in the company of your personal guests.
Just like Christopher Columbus, you may not be the first to your destination, but with the proper resources and patience, you will be guaranteed the adventure of a lifetime and the thrills that only a very few in today’s world can hope to experience.
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