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Mon 2 Jul 2007 11:51 AM

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Bookings open for rocket men (and women)

Virgin Galactic opens the doors for $200,000 trips into space.

Bookings open for rocket men (and women)
Taking passengers: Virgin Galactic now taking bookings for charter flights into space.

Virgin Galactic has announced it is taking bookings for charter flights into space.

Sharaf Travel, the company's accredited space office in Dubai, is accepting orders for flights on SpaceShipTwo, which seats six astronaut passengers.

SpaceShipTwo is towed to an altitude of 50,000 feet by 'mother-ship' WhiteKnightTwo before it is released and fires its own rockets - reaching three times the speed of sound in less than half a minute.

Passengers will then experience four minutes of zero gravity as the craft flies 110km above the earth's surface, before re-entering the earth's atmosphere and returning to earth.

The whole flight last two hours.

Sharaf Travel chairman Salah Sharaf said the charter flights offered a unique opportunity for companies to associate themselves with space tourism.

"Alternatively, families or like-minded friends may choose the option to charter a spaceship," he said.

"I cannot imagine anything better than sharing such an exciting experience with people you know."

While the honour of being in the first 100 space travellers have already sold out, there are still spots available in the next 400 seats, for $200,000 a seat.

Chartering the whole Virgin Galactic spaceship will cost $1.2 million.

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