I think we all know that the future is going to bring us space-travel tourism. Virgin Galactic has that Spaceport America coming very soon, and there is that fairly interesting Spaceship 2.
This is XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx spacecraft. It looks smaller than what Sir Richard Branson from Virgin is working on. The Lynx first showed up in 2008, and they are now taking pre-orders for the first flight, which is expected to be unveiled in 2012.
The Lynx has been designed with four independent rocket engines whose operational profile are “jet-engine” like in the sense they are used to power the aircraft. After it lands, they are refueled, a checklist is performed, and then you take off again, up to four times per day. The Lynx takes off like a private aircraft from a runway, flies to the edge of space, and returns to the take off site. Four onboard and several ground based cameras will be recording these historical flights, and will become a memento of this extraordinary personalized experience.
Keep in mind, that you can’t just spend an afternoon in space on this flight. No, you need a four-day training session and a two-day briefing before you go on the flight.
By the way, the price of a flight is about $95,000, which is about half the price what Virgin will charge. Pre-orders require a $20,000 deposit.