Buzz Aldrin Plans Spaceflight Raffle

White House Rendezvous With Apollo 11 Crew
President George W. Bush welcomes Apollo 11 Astronauts Michael Collins, left, Neil Armstrong, center, and Buzz Aldrin to the Oval Office on July 21, 2004. The astronauts visited the White House to mark the 35th anniversary of the successful Apollo 11 mission of landing on the moon, walking along its surface and safely returning home. Photo: White House/Eric Draper

NEW YORK -- Former Apollo astronaut BuzzAldrin is drawing up plans for a lottery-like contest, with space experiencesfor prizes, in hopes of making orbital spaceflight available to more than justwealthy entrepreneurs.

Billed asthe ShareSpace Stakes, the contest is envisioned to function as part of Aldrin'sShareSpace Foundation, a firm designed to promote interest in human spaceflightand science education.

"It'ssomething akin to a sweepstakes or a raffle," Aldrin said Tuesday during theSpace Investment Summit here, adding that many details remain to be determined."We have yet to set up the rules and regulations."

Aldrin saidany entrants would have to be age 18 or older to enter the ShareSpace Stakes,and any winners would likely be required to satisfy the appropriate healthrequirements for spaceflight.

Currently,the only orbital flights available for space tourists head to theInternational Space Station and are brokered with Russia's Federal Space Agencyby the Virginia-based firm Space Adventures for a cost of between $20 millionand $25 million. U.S.entrepreneur Charles Simonyi, 58, is currently in themidst of such a flight aboard the space station as the outpost shiftsbetween the Expedition 14 to Expedition 15 missions.

Aldrin, whomade history on July 20, 1969 during NASA's Apollo 11 mission when he becamethe second human ever to set foot on the Moon, said some 400,000 people, eachpaying about $50 a ticket, could cover the cost of an orbital tourist flight inone vision of the Stakes raffle. Other prizes could include weightless flightsaboard Zero G aircraft or other experiences, he added.

"Our intentis to open the spaceflight experience," Aldrin said. "There's no question thatspace travel is poised to go from the few to the many."

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