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Tue, Dec 02, 2008

RocketShip Tours To Sell Rides Aboard XCOR's Lynx... For $95K A Seat

Says Lower Price Is Proof Competition Is Lowering Cost Of Space Access

A travel entrepreneur who introduced hundreds of thousands of Americans to European travel in the 1960's announced Tuesday he wants to take luxury travel to new heights -- the edge of space -- and for a pricetag less than half of what competitors plan to charge.

Jules Klar, founder of Phoenix, AZ-based RocketShip Tours, announced Tuesday his company will immediately begin selling rides to the edge of space for $95,000 per flight. Participants will fly aboard the Lynx, a two-seat suborbital vehicle being built by California-based XCOR Aerospace.

"Years ago, my dream was to introduce the world to new travel opportunities at prices that were consistent with a unique experience," said Klar. "In 1961 I created $5-A-Day Tours in partnership with Arthur Frommer that enabled thousands of Americans to see Europe at affordable prices."

After moving to Arizona, Klar created Great American Travel, a high-end boutique operation specializing in luxury cruises and tours. "We've helped thousands of sophisticated adventurous travelers visit exotic destinations all over the world including Antarctica, where they developed a deeper appreciation for its beautiful, pristine and fragile environment. Today, I am very proud to announce this partnership with XCOR Aerospace to offer participants an out of this world experience -- a front row seat to the edge of Space.

"The natural evolution of human exploration knows no bounds. RocketShip Tours and XCOR have come together to usher in the private sector's role in space exploration. There is no doubt that a new era of pioneering space enthusiasts is emerging. In fact, prior to signing this agreement with RocketShip Tours, XCOR had already taken paid reservations for approximately 20 flights," said Klar.

The total cost of the Lynx flight experience will be $95,000. A deposit of $20,000 begins the process of assigning the participant to the qualification program. Klar said one does not have to be an athlete to fly aboard the Lynx, but the procedure will include a medical questionnaire and a screening performed by qualified aeronautic physicians.

Instruction regarding life support systems, flight physiology, and other aspects of the Lynx suborbital flight will also be provided. "We want to ensure the experience is as safe as possible and that people are adequately trained and prepared."

XCOR Chief Test Pilot and three-time Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander, Rick Searfoss said the Lynx will carry people or payloads to the edges of space up to four times a day. Seated next to him in the co-pilot seat, participants will undoubtedly experience the thrill of a lifetime. The awe-inspiring view of the curvature of Earth, the thin blue mantle of the atmosphere below, and inky blackness of space above will provide participants with unforgettable memories beyond description.

XCOR officials discussed the technology used on the two-seat, fully reusable launch vehicle that takes off like an airplane, and lands the same way, while Chris Gilman of Orbital Outfitters, a NASA spacesuit contractor, demonstrated the spacesuit technology that will be worn by those flying in the Lynx. Gilman, winner of an Academy Award for special effects, said the suit is both lighter and safer than older NASA spacesuits.

Klar said he was inspired by the revolutionary Lynx suborbital vehicle because it offers participants a unique and intimately personal experience. "You're sitting in a cockpit in the co-pilot's seat beside your astronaut pilot, with a panoramic view of the stars above and Earth below. It is the ride of your life!"

"I am going to fly aboard the Lynx because I want to experience space from a front row seat," said Danish investment banker Per Wimmer, who will take the first commercial flight aboard the Lynx. "My goal is to place the Dannebrog, the Danish flag, on the Moon one day. Flying to the edge of space aboard the Lynx will make me the first Dane to experience suborbital space flight and takes me one step closer to my ultimate goal."

FMI: www.rocketshiptours.com, www.xcor.com, www.wimmerspace.com

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