November 19, 2010
KLM, Space Experience Curacao Team Up For Space-flight Venture
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a division of Air France-KLM, is teaming up with a commercial space-flight endeavor planning to operate out the Caribbean island of Curacao, according to officials on Thursday.
KLM has purchased a "few" tickets for suborbital space flights through Space Exploration Curacao, a private venture backed by two Dutch industrialists that plans to operate a two-seat Lynx spacecraft currently being developed by XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, California.
Gedi Schrijver, a spokeswoman for the airline, told Reuters "we're enthusiastic about this," but declined to be more specific about the number of tickets purchased by KLM or how they would be used. The going rate for rides on the Lynx is $95,000.
In a news release jointly issued by XCOR and Space Exploration Curacao, the two companies said KLM is planning to offer suborbital flights for frequent flyer mileage redemptions and in vacation packages.
Space Exploration Curacao has tentatively scheduled commercial spaceflights to begin in January 2014, although, it is waiting for US government approval for the Lynx vehicle to be located on the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. XCOR said it would provide operational support at the proposed site in Curacao.
Billionaire Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Group, is setting up its own commercial space operations in New Mexico. Scaled Composites, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp, has begun test flights of a six-passenger spaceship it built for space line operator Virgin Galactic, which has collected more than $50 million in deposits for rides costing $200,000 per person.
Both ventures will offer passengers a few moments of weightlessness outside of Earth's atmosphere 65 miles above ground, also giving them a view of the planet unlike any they have seen before.
Image Caption: KLM will support future Lynx suborbital flights out of Curacao through a variety of programs and packages.
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