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Lift-Off For Space Tourism In Sweden

File image of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft.
by Staff Writers
Stockholm (AFP) Jan 26, 2007
A Swedish company signed a deal Friday with Britain's Virgin Galactic they hope will see tourists rocketing off from Sweden's arctic north for two-hour space flights as early as 2010. "A cooperation agreement was signed Friday between Spacesport Sweden and Virgin Galactic with the aim of starting space flights as early as 2010, possibly 2012," Swedish Space Corporation spokesman Jonny Jaernmark told AFP.

For 200,000 dollars (155,000 euros), punters will be able to enjoy a two-hour trip into the thermosphere some 120 kilometres (75 miles) above the Earth.

The trips, which would include 15 to 20 minutes of weightlessness, will be launched from Kiruna -- situated some 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

"Kiruna is an exotic destination for many ... people will be able to fly through the Northern Lights," Jaernmark added.

In addition to travelling through the Northern Lights -- a meteorological phenomenon caused by charged atoms creating stunning green, red, blue and violet clouds in the atmosphere -- clients will be treated to spectacular views of the Earth.

Health requirements for those intending to use the service were not expected to be any more rigorous than for those travelling on conventional airlines, Jaernmark said.

Spaceport Sweden is a consortium made up of the Swedish Space Corporation, Kiruna council, the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority and local businesses.

"The aim of Spaceport is to make Kiruna Europe's first and most obvious place for personal suborbital spaceflight," the group said in a statement.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Starchaser Industries Wins European Space Agency Contract
Manchester, UK (SPX) Jan 15, 2007
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