(PhysOrg.com) -- The race to offer commercial passengers an experience of a lifetime just got more affordable. RocketShip Tours owned by Jules Klar, a veteran in the travel business will arrange a sub-orbital trip aboard XCOR Aerospace's third generation rocket powered vehicle for less than 50-percent of its rival Virgin Galactic. The Lynx is XCOR´s first sub-orbital rocket powered vehicle designed to take commercial passengers 37.87 miles straight up to catch a glimpse of Outer Space, Earth, enjoy weightless and then gently glide back and land at an Arizona air strip.
Lynx is a two-passenger rocket powered aircraft that has the ability to operate as an airplane. It operates on kerosene and liquid oxygen. The pilot for the adventure of a lifetime is former NASA astronaut Colonel Rick Searfoss. Col. Searfoss was the Commander on the Space Shuttle Columbia, pilot, Space Shuttle Atlantis and chalked up a total of 50 rocket powered missions.
Per Wimmer, a Danish investment banker holds the first reservation for the Lynx sub-orbital flight expected to launch sometime in 2011. Mr. Wimmer hedged his bet by plunking down the necessary reservation fee to Richard Branson´s Virgin Galactic and another rival for commercial space travel, Space Adventure. According to Wimmer, "It will be a real race to see which one goes up first". The main difference between the XCOR Lynx is its ability to launch on any 10,000 foot runway with clear air space.
Within a minute of engine light the Lynx goes super sonic. The Lynx takes to the skies and achieves Mach 2 speed with a 2.5 g-force. The guest traveler travels in the co-pilot seat and is equipped with a pressure suit. Somewhere in the range of 100,000 feet the sky darkens and within a few minutes turns to inky black. A period of weightlessness occurs after the rocket engines are shut down and the tour peaks at 200,000 feet with a vista of the Earth´s surface enhanced by the pilot´s ability to maneuver Lynx upside down and side-wise before gliding for home.
In contrast the Virgin Galactic voyage is a craft that must be towed by a mother-craft some 50,000 feet above the Earth before breaking free and starting the rocket boosters. The Virgin Galactic is a six-passenger transport vehicle which may allow passengers to float around in the cabin during weightless periods. The Virgin Galactic is expected to reach 62-miles above the earth´s surface.
The RocketShip adventure includes a five day stay at a luxury resort, medical evaluation, flight preparedness and training, a flight cancellation insurance policy and the 30-minute or so flight aboard the Lynx. A $20,000 dollar deposit starts the process to ensure the guest participant is medically fit for the adventure and provides some initial training. The total cost of the RocketShip Tour is $95,000 and compared to the $200,000 ticket price for the Virgin Galactic flight is a discount sub-orbital flight.
On the Net: www.rocketshiptours.com
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