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Want a ride into space? The first shuttle leaves in 2014 (really!) and the owner wants someone from Dallas on board

Who needs a Caribbean Cruise – those are so 2012. By 2014, the new it vacation from the Caribbean involves a space shuttle. And outer space.

Space Expedition Corporation, or SXC, is getting set to offer a true life-changing experience – the opportunity to take a ride in a small space shuttle into space, 103 km above Earth. SXC CEO Michiel Mol is traveling around the world to spread the word that personal space travel is now at your fingertips, provided you pass a physical exam.

And afford the $95,000 ticket.

While the hefty price tag eliminates much of the world from having the means to shuttle into space for the afternoon, SXC has already sold 175 tickets to people around the globe, from ages 18-84. Mol is targeting select cities that have high concentrations of the demographic SXC is seeking. In the United States, in addition to Dallas, he will visit Austin, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami.

The Hatch caught up with Mol at the W Hotel Tuesday night to find out exactly what he’s selling.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Mother Earth like only 500 other people have ever seen her,” Mol told me.

Mol became involved with the ambitious enterprise about six years ago, though space travel has been on his radar practically his entire life.

“As a little boy, I dreamed of going to space,” Mol said. “I never imagined I would be working with a company that would make that possible.”

Unlike previously developed spacecrafts, including the Space Shuttle, the SXC Lynx Spaceship is equipped with four revolutionary rocket engines, which can be shut down and restarted in-flight at any time. There are no disposable carrier rockets, carriers or landings at sea. The Lynx takes off down a runway like a jet, but upon takeoff begins its steep ascent almost immediately at an incredibly fast rate, breaking the sound barrier within 60 seconds. Within three minutes, the Lynx will reach Mach 3, as the Earth starts blur behind you into a collage of blue and green.

At an altitude of 60 km, the pilot switches off the engines and the parabolic flight begins, during which the crew experiences weightlessness for a couple of minutes. The Lynx eventually reaches its maximum height of 103 km, breaking through the official frontier of space, which begins at 100 km, making travelers official astronauts. At this height, passengers are floating in the total blackness of space, able to look down and actually see the curvature of the Earth.

Passengers enjoy this incredible view for about 6 minutes, before the Lynx starts floating back to the Earth, rapidly picking up speed as it falls. In order to reduce the speed the Lynx will have to do a pull-out maneuver, during which passengers will experience 4.5 G for 10 to 20 seconds. After this, the Lynx will glide the rest of the way home, taking about fifteen minutes, before landing at the Spaceport just like a shuttle landing. The entire trip, from takeoff to landing, is 60 minutes, or about the time it takes to fly from Dallas to Austin.

The flights will launch from two spaceports, the Curacao Spaceport, in Curacao and Spaceport Mojave, only a 2-hour drive from L.A. Mol said test flights will begin in March of 2013, with the first official passenger flight scheduled for launch in 2014. While Mol has yet to earn his astronaut’s wings, he anticipates being on one of the first official flights in 2014 at the latest.

“It’s a really interesting feeling knowing that it is so close,” he said. “It’s been a life-long dream to go to space.”

You can purchase tickets or read more about the experience at www.spacexc.com.




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