California rocket firm has its first space tourist

Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS (AP) – A Danish adventurer is first in line to ride aboard a privately funded, two-seat rocket ship designed by a California rocket maker to fly about 37 miles above Earth.

Xcor Aerospace said Tuesday that Per Wimmer, an investment banker based in London, will plop down $95,000 to be the first passenger aboard Lynx, a space tourism vehicle designed to take off and land like an airplane.

Xcor has yet to set a date for its first flight, but Wimmer hopes it will come in 2011, after a series of test flights by the Mojave-based company.

Wimmer, also an Xcor investor, said he considers the space ride the trip of a lifetime and hopes it inspires youngsters to live out their own dreams.

Trips aboard Lynx are selling for $95,000 each, said Jules Klar, founder and CEO of Phoenix, Ariz.-based RocketShip Tours. Reservations have been made for 20 flights, he said.
Xcor’s main competitor, a partnership between Sir Richard Branson and aerospace designer Burt Rutan, is building SpaceShipTwo, an eight-seat suborbital craft that will take passengers some 62 miles above Earth for $200,000 each.

It has yet to set a date for the start of the service.