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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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.