The Space Needle is partnering with Space Adventures in what it’s calling Space Race 2012. “The Space Needle was built when our country was in a global space race,” says Ron Sevart, president of Space Needle.
“With space travel moving to the private sector, a new race has begun that focuses on the best of what the Space Needle has become – a symbol of the aspirations of today’s world of technology and science. What better way than sending a person from our midst into space to mark our first 50 years and look into the exciting future that lies ahead?”
The online competition was launched yesterday by the Space Needle, an hourglass-shaped landmark in Seattle, to celebrate its 50th anniversary as well celebrating the evolution of space travel to the private industry.
The winner will be blasted into space in a purpose-built conical vessel. The craft will then travel for 30 minutes upward (62 miles) to the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
At this point the two passengers will be able to unstrap themselves to experience six minutes of zero-gravity. Portholes in the tip of the ship will give them both 1500-mile views in either direction of the Earth’s surface.
To enter the competition members of the public must submit their details into an online sweepstake which will run from August 1, 2011 until December 29, 2011.
Only legal US residents above the age of 18 are allowed to take part in the competition.
The selection process will involve a random identification of one thousand contestants who will further take part in a skill-based competition.
The winners of this competition will then have to do a one-minute video that will be further screened based on public vote. These finalists will then compete in 2012 a series of challenges to determine the ultimate winner of the trip to space.
“Space Adventures is extremely excited to partner with the Space Needle on this campaign,” says Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures.
“It is our mission to open the space frontier to the private sector and there is no better way to energize the general public, especially our youth, about space than to offer a flight opportunity to the masses.”
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to land on the moon, helped announce the competition last night.
He said: “Private industry is going to gradually assume some of the things that government has been able to do only previously,”
“The ability to continue exploring space is going to be dependent on private citizens engaging in the business of taking people to space.”
Celebrities who have already signed up for the tourism space race include Russell Brand, Dallas star Victoria Principal, film director Bryan Singer, designer Philippe Starck, scientist Professor Stephen Hawking, property developers the Candy brothers, and PayPal developer Elon Musk. [via The Telegraph, Space and TG Daily]