An artist's rendition of XCOR Aerospace's Lynx space plane high above the Earth. Roughly the size of a small private airplane, the craft is designed to make several flights a day into a zero-gravity environment.
Credit: Mike Massee/XCOR
A new travel website is offering one lucky person a chance for a free trip into space – well, the edge of space, anyway.
The members-only travel site, called TripAlertz, has teamed up with the private rocket developer XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, Calif., to give away what the travel firm has dubbed a "Free Epic Journey into Space."
Participants can enter the contest by becoming a member on the TripAlertz website, referring their friends, or as a reward for dollars spent on the travel site. The winner will get to ride aboard XCOR's Lynx suborbital space plane with veteran pilot and former NASA space shuttle commander, Rick Searfoss.
The winner can assign the trip, subject to certain restrictions, as a gift to family, friends or a charity. In addition to the Lynx flight, the TripAlertz Epic Journey into Space includes a five-night stay at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Ariz. during training and preparation, medical evaluation and screening, a cancellation insurance policy, organizers said.
You have to be age of 21 to enter. A winner will be drawn on June 21.
XCOR Aerospace's Lynx space plane is a two-person spacecraft designed to take off and land on a standard airport runway. [Video: NewSpace Visionaries Shoot for the Sky]
"The flight profile of Lynx provides an exciting and enriching personal space experience which promises the ride of your life," Andrew Nelson, XCOR's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "The two-seat Lynx Mark I vehicle takes off horizontally from a runway with a powerful ascent reaching over twice the speed of sound on its way to the edge of space. The profound blackness of space, the spectacular view of Earth's curvature, and 1,600 miles of viewing are unforgettable sights while experiencing weightlessness at apogee."
Searfoss flew three space shuttle missions, twice as pilot and once as commander. His first spaceflight, STS-58, launched in October 1993 and set the record for the longest duration space shuttle mission to date. In 1996, Searfoss piloted Atlantis to the former Russian space station Mir.
"Flight participants accompanying me will not only experience the exhilaration of the launch, but mankind's rarest view of all – Earth from space – its beauty, its fragility and its lack of borders. The sheer magnificence of it will be potentially life altering," Searfoss said.