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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Dream of launching tourists into space lands in Cumbria

SPACE travel experts touched down in Cumbria this week to speak to people about plans to send tourists into space.

The team behind Virgin Galactic spoke to the North-West Evening Mail to explain its project to blast people into zero gravity within our lifetime.

Commercial director Stephen Attenborough explained their progressing plans to introduce the first ever commercial space flights.

Their ideas have been evolving for a decade, at a testing site in the Mojavi Desert, California, where the space planes are being built. Once they are fully finished they will be sent to New Mexico, the flight base.

The trip is a bit steeper in price than your average drive out to Bowness, at a cost of $250,000.

However, the offer includes three days of training, a coveted rocket ride into zero gravity, fantastic views of the earth, the ability to say you have been an astronaut, and more photo opportunities than ever.

Mr Attenborough added: “We came to Cumbria to tell people all about this because people love this subject and we love to bring passion and optimism to them.

“We have known for many years that there are huge potential benefits from being able to put people and things into space. Many of the ways we navigate and the ways we manage disasters have been immeasurably improved by access to space, but generally things haven’t changed since the 1950s.

“It’s time to take a 21st century approach to human space flight. Everyone wants to go, nobody thinks they will be able to.

“We want to regularise space access and make space planes not a big deal.

“There’s a cognitive change that occurs when most people see the earth from space. They realise the Earth is a civil organism and there’s not an obvious alternative. They see there’s much more that unites us than divides us.”

Speaking about the high price tag, he added: “Commercial aviation in the early days was just for the wealthy.

“It was out of sight of normal people. If we are successful we can take more and more normal people out to space.

“So, in theory, everyone should be able to afford it in 10 or 20 years.”

He added: “I hope what we’re doing is creating inspiration to say there’s more to life than the every day.”

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