Ready for suborbital flight? XCOR tickets going for $95,000

Dec 02, 2008 (The Bakersfield Californian - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Tickets for a suborbital ride with XCOR Aerospace will sell for $95,000, the company and its partner RocketShip Tours announced at a news conference in Beverly Hills Tuesday morning.

Test flights are scheduled to start in 2010 and that program will last as long as it needs to take, said Jeff Greason, XCOR's president.

Customers of the Mojave-based company may launch into space in 2011. The Lynx vehicle would reach 37 miles in altitude and could depart from Mojave and other space ports in Alaska, Virginia Florida and Oklahoma.

Andrew Nelson, XCOR's chief operating officer, said the company has pre-sold 22 tickets.

The first paying customer is adventurer and financier Per Wimmer, a Dane who runs an investment bank in London.

Wimmer called himself a "mix of 007 and Indiana Jones." He's traveled the Amazon, throughout Africa and did a tandem skydive over Mount Everest, he told the assembled crowd, including observers via a Webcast.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rick Searfoss, XCOR's test pilot and a former NASA astronaut, looks forward to taking Wimmer and other customers for a life-changing experience into space.

The $95,000 ticket includes a five-day orientation at a luxury hotel, the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Ariz., said Jules Klar, RocketShip's founder and chief executive.

They would receive medical screenings, briefings and a ride on a vehicle to measure their ability to withstand G forces and check for claustrophobia, Klar said.

As flight time approaches, more medical tests would be performed.