Rocket company Interorbital Systems (IOS) announced today that Tim Reed, a Mid-western businessman and adventure traveler, is the first to purchase a ticket for week-long orbital expedition aboard the five-passenger IOS Neptune Spaceliner, scheduled for launch in 2008.
Reed and IOS made history by inking the deal, since the ocean-launched Neptune will be the first manned orbital launch vehicle built totally without government funding. The Gladstone, Missouri resident will be among the first civilians to fly to orbit on the first completely commercial, private-sector rocket.
After reading "Ride a Rocket to Space," a space tourism article by astronomer David H. Levy in Parade Magazine, Reed bought the first of Interorbital's $250,000 "promotional fare" spaceline tickets. These tickets come with a complete rebate of the purchase price, redeemable two years after the crewmember's flight.
Only nine of the reduced fare tickets remain for sale, with additional purchases pending. After these advance-purchase tickets are sold, the price for an orbital expedition with IOS will revert to the standard fare of $2 million per passenger, which is still a bargain by today's standards.
Orbital Expedition crewmember Tim Reed sees the value in the IOS "Promotional Fare" offer---he can buy now at a reduced rate, experience a week in Earth orbit in 2008, and two years later, receive a full rebate.
This is essentially a "free" trip to space. For the type of extreme adventure travel the company offers, the IOS team views Reed as exactly the right kind of candidate: healthy, active, and highly intelligent. In addition to completing his duties as an active member of the Orbital Expedition crew and experiencing the wonders of spaceflight, Tim is planning to conduct a series of nutritional/biological experiments during his stay on-orbit.
After crewmembers undergo a rigorous thirty-day training program, the orbital odyssey will begin with a sea-based launch directly out of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
The novel design of the Neptune, a SAAHTO (stage-and-a-half-to-orbit) vehicle, allows the rocket's two spherical 21-foot diameter liquid oxygen tanks to serve as spacious habitat for the five-person crew during their seven-day stay on-orbit. A capsule return with ocean splashdown and recovery completes their space adventure.
Randa Milliron, CEO of Interorbital Systems explained what Reed's ticket purchase means to the IOS manned, private-sector spaceflight program. "With the sale of Tim's ticket, Interorbital Systems has completed the funding it required to build and launch a subscale version of the Neptune---a microsatellite launcher called the "Sea Star."
This rocket, identical to the Neptune in every way except size, will demonstrate our orbital capability. We intend to conduct Sea Star's satellite launch mission within the next ten months. This fast pace of flight-testing is crucial to IOS meeting a launch timeline of 2008 for the first manned Neptune launches."
Both the Sea Star and Neptune will be launched from the ocean by a method called "floating launch."
IOS will stage all initial test flights from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. Economical, responsive ocean-based launch gives IOS the ability to offer its customers ultra low-cost launch services, and maximum scheduling flexibility.
Because the company will operate its own mobile launch facility, it will not be subject to the usual land-based spaceport scheduling restrictions and high costs. IOS will provide customers with true "launch-on-demand."
Mojave-based Interorbital Systems, founded in 1996, is a purely commercial, private-sector company that designs and manufactures all components of it launch vehicles---including liquid rocket engines and guidance systems. IOS was founded with the express intent to supply orbital and interplanetary spaceflight opportunities for both cargo and passengers.
IOS plans to offer spaceflights from multiple sea-based locations around the planet, with initial launches from the ocean off the coast of California, followed by an expansion of service to the waters surrounding the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, and to at least two other ocean locations to serve global demand.
The company's long-term goal is to create an Earth-Moon transportation system, and to carry expedition crewmembers to and from a planned private-sector Lunar Base. For more information about and its
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Brazil, Russia Agree To Send Brazilian Cosmonaut To Space
Moscow (AFP) Oct 04, 2005
Brazil and Russia have reached tentative agreement on sending a Brazilian cosmonaut to space, possibly as early as April, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency was quoted as saying Tuesday by Russian news agencies.
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