SpaceShipTwo under construction Thierry Boccon-Gibod photo courtesy Virgin Atlantic
While SpaceX made headlines recently as the first private company to send cargo to the International Space Station, Virgin Galactic wants to be the first to send tourists into space.
Glen Allen-based Covington Travel is one of the few agencies certified to sell tickets aboard Virgin's SpaceShipTwo. Though Covington hasn't booked a $200,000 ticket yet, 540 travelers have already signed up. To make a reservation, aspiring Neil Armstrongs must put down a $20,000 deposit and undergo G-force training.
Once in space, passengers will be allowed to unbuckle their harnesses, experience weightlessness and view Earth through the ship's windows.
"This is going to be an amazing and life-changing experience," says Carolyn Wincer, head of travel and tourism development with Virgin Galactic.
Virgin hopes that its first rocket-powered space flight will take place before year's end. After commercial space travel is established, the company envisions setting up hotels and shopping centers in space.
"It's a privilege to be a part of making history," says Karen Kilyk, a local travel advisor with Covington and accredited space agent with Virgin Galactic. To book your ticket, call 747-7077.