A new spacecraft currently in development is expected to travel at 2,200 miles per hour and be capable of shuttling passengers anywhere in the world in under two hours. Formula One racing tycoon Michiel Mol has teamed up with the Dutch airline K.L.M. to engineer the new ship. Called the Lynx, the craft will not be commercially viable for another 15 or 20 years but the project’s first generation spacecraft will be revealed next spring. Preliminary tickets for a 2014 maiden voyage have already sold for $80,000.
What’s the Big Idea?
Sir Richard Branson was the first to enter the commercial space race but he will surely not be the last. His company’s maiden flight into low Earth orbit, where passengers will achieve weightlessness and see the arc of the planet, is scheduled for next year. At the same time, the termination of N.A.S.A.’s shuttle program has become the symbol of the transition from a government space program to the private space race. Companies will soon compete for their slice of the space vacationers’ pie, spending a fraction of N.A.S.A.’s budget to put civilians into space.