It’s in every science fiction book and movie since forever. Humans — the ordinary non-astronaut kind, like you and I — going up into space like it’s no big deal. And it’s generally believed that one day, eventually, space flight will become mainstream.
But alas, the day draws nigh. XCOR Aerospace and Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) have introduced the first aircraft that can endure frequent repeat trips to sub-orbital levels before tuckering out: the Lynx. Since the Lynx, a small fighter-esque plane that only holds two people, can make multiple trips a day back and forth to space, space flight becomes affordable enough for anyone to take the trip.
Well, not necessarily anyone. By “affordable,” I mean $95,000 for a ticket.
You’ll co-pilot the mission yourself, since there’s only space for two. The flight will last four or five minutes, over various spots on the planet, wherein the Lynx will flip upside down to give you a full view of our lovely rock.
According to Chief Test Pilot Rick Searfoss, who has traveled up into space with NASA three times as a Space Shuttle Commander, you’ll be able to see the curve of the earth and the thin blue line that separates our atmosphere from the black vacuum of space.
And though the Lynx doesn’t go past sub-orbital levels (around 100 kilometers), you’ll still feel entirely weightless.
The company has already sold over 175 tickets, and at $95,000 a pop, they’ll turn a profit immediately once they begin regular flights with private citizens. For now, we’re only in the testing phase, with commercial flights beginning no later than 2014.
Here’s an animation of the Lynx: