Bangkok-based travel company, Khiri Voyages, has taken one giant leap into a new sector of the industry, by becoming the exclusive Thailand agent for a new space tourism company, Space Expedition Corporation (SXC).
SXC will officially launch in Asia this month, and Khiri has been appointed to sell its space tourism flights to the Thai market. A new Thai language website has also been created, spacevoyages.asia, to target Thai wannabe space tourists. The first flights are expected to commence late this year or early 2014.
“We already provide exclusive travel experiences such as Antarctica, deluxe safaris in Africa and trips to the Galapagos Islands for the Thai market,” said Willem Niemeijer, CEO of the Khiri Travel Group, which includes Khiri Voyages. “But space is truly the ultimate experience.”
After booking with Khiri, the Thai space travellers will undergo training in the Netherlands. The space flights will take off using a horizontal runway either in the Mojave Desert in California or on the Caribbean island of Curacao. The XCOR Lynx Mark I or Mark II Space jet will fly tourists to 103km above the Earth, where SCX said passengers will be able to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth. It will then return to Earth, with travellers experiencing 4G atmospheric re-entry forces along the way. The entire trip takes approximately one hour.
Only one passenger will be able to fly in the Lynx with the pilot and the cost of the trip is approximately THB4.2 million (US$135,000), including all training and business class flights to and from the Netherlands and the spaceport.
SXC will be competing with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic enterprise, which also expects to launch next year. While Virgin Galactic’s space flights will be longer, at approximately two hours, they will also be more expensive, at around US$200,000.