Quebec travel agency strikes deal to offer trips into space
Earth is seen from the Apollo 8 spacecraft in December 1968. (NASA)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 1, 2013 11:11AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 1, 2013 2:54PM EST
LAVAL, Que. -- Canadians dreaming about becoming a space tourist now have another choice.
Space Expedition Corp. and XCor Aerospace have signed a deal with Quebec travel agency Uniktour to offer suborbital flights in the Quebec market. A similar deal is in the works for the rest of the Canadian market and is set to be announced in the coming days in Toronto.
Uniktour president Philippe Bergeron is already booked for a suborbital flight this December, which could make him the first Canadian to live such an experience.
"I can't wait to see the black sky during in the day and I can't wait for see the curvature of the Earth and to be propelled by four rocket engines," he said Friday.
"My seat is number 15 in the world and so far I should be the first Canadian to take part in a suborbital flight -- if XCor is able to fly the first into space, which we think is a very nice possibility."
Another company, Virgin Galactic, has already been taking reservations and hopes to begin its space tourism flights in 2014.
Bergeron will travel in the pioneer Lynx Mark 1 space plane, which is still undergoing tests. Bergeron says the day is not far off when a person will be able to travel to Tokyo in two hours on a rocket-driven suborbital aircraft.
Sylvain Belair, executive director of the Montreal-area Cosmodome space museum, where the announcement was made, is Uniktour's first customer to confirm his seat on board a flight in 20014.
Space Expedition is offering two packages, with both including include hotel stays and astronaut training.
One fare will cost US$95,000 for a trip in the Lynx Mark 1 space plane. It will take travellers about 60 kilometres above the Earth where they will experience weightlessness for three to four minutes during the 45-minute flight.
The second package is in the Mark II and will cost US$100,000. That voyage will last 60 minutes and reach more than 100 kilometres above Earth. The weightlessness on that flight will last five to six minutes.
The Lynx space shuttle, which takes off like a commercial airliner, has room for a pilot and a passenger.
It will blast off from spaceports in California's Mojave desert and Curacao, an island in the Caribbean sea just north of Venezuela.