Coming soon to India: ticket to a space ride
Rock climbing, skydiving and rafting are passé. It's time to don a spacesuit and whoosh off to space by hiring commercial spaceships at $200,000 for two hours, reports Sidhartha Roy.
Bookings for an out-of-the-world experience has opened in New Delhi. Go book a seat if you are willing to shell out a steep $200,000, or about ₹80 lakh, for a two-hour ride to space and back.
British Tycoon Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, on Tuesday announced that it has opened its first office in New Delhi in collaboration with Deluxe Travels Europe and GD Goenka Tourism Corp.
The flights are expected to start from 2009 end. Each weekly flight will carry six passengers and two pilots. The maximum distance will be 110 km from Earth.
After the spaceship reaches outer space, passengers will be able to view up to 1,000 miles in any direction and the curvature of the Earth through windows. The spaceship would then glide back.
As of now, four Indians have booked their seats, including Kerala's Santhosh George Kulangara, India's first space tourist. Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said as the disposable income of Indians was increasing, there could be many others keen to take a trip.
Carolyn Wincer, head of astronaut operations, Virgin Galactic said anyone aged over 18 and in reasonably good health can travel: "Basically you should have a healthy lung, heart and no blood pressure problem."