Dutch firm to take Chinese tourists to space

Russia, Mir, and Earth
Russian Space Station Mir, backdropped against Earth, taken from the Space Shuttle Atlantis, 4 July 1995. (photo: NASA)

Netherlands-based space tourism firm Space Expedition Corp. has signed an agreement with a Chinese travel agency in Beijing to take Chinese tourists to space.

Under the agreement, Chinese travelers will be able to make space trips by the end of 2014, Xinhua reports. A tourist will pay a minimum of US$95,000 to board the Lynx Mark I spacecraft produced by the US private aerospace company XCOR, according to Zhang Yong, chief executive officer (CEO) of Chinese travel agency Dexo Travel

Participants will be given one week physical training at Royal Dutch Airlines or Air France before their space trip, Zhang said. "The spaceship can only carry one tourist, who sits in the co-pilot seat, and an astronaut," Zhang said. "The spaceship arrives in outer space 60 minutes after take-off and will fly in space for 20 minutes while the tourist enjoys the view of the earth and space," he said.

The Lynx Mark I spacecraft is expected to begin flights in the fourth quarter of 2014. It is designed to take participants into sub-space to a height of 60 km. The Lynx Mark II spacecraft is expected to begin flights in 2015.

It will take participants into space to a height of 103 km, according to SXC Asia CEO Alex Tang said.s