Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Startup Company Raffles a Ticket to Space

Startup Company Raffles a Ticket to Space:

A new startup company’s $10 space posters come with a chance to win a ride on a suborbital space vehicle.
Called ”I Dream of Space,” the company is selling 25,000 posters at $10 apiece, the proceeds of which should cover a $200,000 ride on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo or a $95,000 seat on XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx, plus some profit for the company’s founders.
No spaceflight company has yet made a commercial flight, and it could be years before they do, but that day is approaching.
“Given the kind of progress we’re seeing with these companies, and the customers lining up, it’s going to happen soon. It has to happen,” said company co-founder Reuben Metcalfe. “If companies continue building the way they are building, and we build a robust community, it’s going to pan out.”

Metcalfe, a 25-year-old New Zealander, and several friends founded the company in November 2011 as part of Startup Weekend. Metcalfe said he’s already discussing options with suborbital spaceflight companies, but needs to raise a $20,000 deposit before they take him seriously.
Of course, even if they do take him seriously, those companies still have to prove they can routinely fly customers to suborbital altitudes, or at least 62 miles above Earth, and safely return them to the ground.
“People need to be aware that when they enter, they should be comfortable with the fact that it will be years before they can go,” Metcalfe said.
Despite Metcalfe’s legal obligation to provide a ticket for something that doesn’t yet exist, he isn’t worried about following through. Virgin Galactic’s manifest, for example, is already filling up with hundreds of customers on flights anticipated to launch over the course of several years.
Even scientists anticipate the impending success of a suborbital spaceflight industry. Many have booked flights to perform research in near-weightless environments afforded by the parabolic launches.
I Dream of Space has already attracted hundreds of poster-buying, space-flying hopefuls, and they aim to sell remaining contest entries by the year’s end. If Metcalfe’s business model proves successful, he hopes to stage more in 2013 and 2014.
Image: I Dream of Space, Ltd.

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