Saturday, January 05, 2008

Soon New Year may be celebrated in Space

Perhaps in a few years time New Year could be celebrated in Space, if you had a spare £100,000... as flights launched in Arctic will be first to take people inside the northern lights.

This article from GuardianUnlimited talks of Richard Branson's 'Virgin Galactic' plans to fly passengers into the aurora borealis - the northern lights - something that no human has done before:

The operations room of the Esrange space centre near Kiruna in the far north of Sweden is one of a handful of places in the world that perform space launches. The facility, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic circle, is used by the European Space Agency and others to launch rockets and balloons for studying the upper atmosphere and the effects of microgravity. It also serves as a monitoring station for numerous satellites that orbit between the north and south poles.

In three years, if all goes to plan, Esrange will act as mission control for the European outpost of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

The company hopes to begin commercial space flights from a purpose-built spaceport in New Mexico in 2010, but flights from Kiruna should follow soon afterwards. Once they are up and running, Virgin Galactic expects to be flying about 5,000 passengers a year.

Now thats a new type of tourism...!

Read in full here

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