BEIJING -- Two Chinese business people will be among the first 100 people to
make a three-and-a-half hour space trip at the end of 2008 with the New
Mexico-based space tourism company Virgin Galactic, reports Thursday's Beijing
The trip will cost around 200,000 U.S. dollars and include half an hour in
space and five minutes experiencing zero gravity. The company intends to send
520 people into space in about 100 launches during its first year.
The Virgin agent for China only revealed that the two Chinese tourists were
one male and one female.
"Our goal is to end the exclusivity attached to manned space travel, which
means designing a privately-built vehicle which can fly almost anyone to space
safely without the need for special expertise or exhaustive, time consuming
training," read a statement from Virgin Galactic.
The Virgin trips require only three days of pre-flight preparation. Previous
space tourism in government-built shuttles cost over 20 million U.S. dollars
after half a year of training.
Virgin Galactic will launch its test flight in late 2007, and will launch
commercial operations a "little over a year later".
Up to now, four people have paid 20 million U.S. dollars each to become space
tourists, including an Iranian-born American woman Anousheh Ansari, who returned
from an 11-day trip to the International Space Station in late