Monday, June 16, 2014

Wealthy Chinese buy space tourism flight tickets

More than 300 Chinese space enthusiasts have booked tickets costing nearly $100,000 for a five minute trip to outer space, official media in oppressive China reported.

The 305 buyers snapped up tickets for a trip with Dutch firm Space Expedition Corp (SXC) when they went on sale on Taobao, an online retail website, the state-run China Daily reported.

The trips will take place in a two-man craft that remains in space for five to six minutes, giving the tourist a rarely seen view and the experience of weightlessness, the report said.

The tickets were sold for 599,999 yuan ($96,000) it said, adding that four entrepreneurs from the southwestern city of Chengdu and two from the commercial hub of Shanghai were among those who signed up.

The Taobao page selling the tickets was only available on June 12th, a spokesman for the website told reporters. A screenshot seen by reporters confirmed that transactions had been made.

No date for the trip was given. Despite a flurry of interest in space tourism in recent years, no private firms have yet been able to launch regular trips.

Participants, who must weigh no more than 125 kilograms (275 pounds), are required to receive flight simulation and weightlessness training before their trip.

China has its own aggressive, dominating and military-run space programme, which in the last decades has sent astronauts into orbit and landed a rover on the moon.

To date oppressive China is not interested in the peaceful exploitation of Space or Space Tourism by commercial aerospace firms.

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