I travel very frequently but it is a rare destination that would be called exotic. Some are pretty exciting, but at least by my definition, calling a location ‘exotic’ is saved for things like a landing on Antarctica, trekking across the Serengeti, or climbing the world’s highest mountains. Perhaps all of them will be removed from my Bucket List one day but I found one more that I need to squeeze in.
Dutch-based Space Expedition Corporation (SEC) may be offering the very ultimate in bucket list travel. As I read about this, I kept hearing “Space: The Final Frontier” ringing in my ears. The journey begins at a Spaceport in either Curacao or Mojave, California. It is the next part where this package soars, so to speak.
Buckle up as you head into outer space. The actual flight is relatively brief but nevertheless amazing. The approximate one-hour flight at an astonishing 2,000+ miles per hour will take you more than 60 miles above our Mother Earth, high enough to see the curvature of the earth. Weightlessness will last approximately 6-8 minutes. Gliding back into the earth’s atmosphere, you need to be prepared for a big jolt as the
aircraft (excuse me, spacecraft) hits around 4 G’s for maybe 25 seconds. Definitely a flight like no other, and definitely a photo op like no other.
If you plan to go, leave the spouse and children home. Well, you can bring them along for a vacation but there is no room in the spacecraft for them. This is a two-seater only, meaning you will be flying in the right seat just like an airline First Officer. SEC is accepting bookings now with plans to begin flights this year with up to four flights a day. Not feeling like you are quite up for this yet? Not to worry, SEC offers additional training in their Netherlands simulator. Canadian-based tour operator Adventure Travel Company (ATC) is also offering this as a package which includes airfare and three days at one of the two Spaceports.
What are the catches? Well, there are a couple things. Obviously you need to be in good shape and there is that cost -$100,000. For those who are physically and financially fit, you are as good as on your way. The ATC three-day package includes pre-flight training and of course, everything is documented for posterity. Oh, and don’t forget those not-so-small bragging rights.
Of course, this is not for everyone. After all, there are no flight attendants, first class seating, or wine pairings with meals. Most adventurers, though, would not hesitate to forego those luxuries for one day to sneak a peek at this beautiful planet from well above.
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