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Contest Winner To Be Launched into Space

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:31 pm
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space.com: A Colorado man has won a free ride to the edge of space in a rocket plane to be built by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. The announcement will be made today in New York City.

Doug Ramsburg was selected at random from 135,000 entries in a contest sponsored by Branson’s new Virgin Galactic company and Volvo Cars of North America. As the winner, Ramsburg will be one of the first passengers to fly in an enlarged SpaceShipOne – the first commercially financed plane to reach space last fall.

Virgin Galactic licensed SpaceShipOne’s technology in order to modify it for extra passengers. The first flights – expected to begin in two or three years, pending safety and regulatory approval – will cost about $200,000.

Like all prospective astronauts, Ramsburg will go through some basic training, as well as pass a physical 10 days before his flight. None of this is supposed to so strenuous as to exclude the general public.

“You look up at the stars and you think, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to look back on the planet from space,’ ” Ramburg told the Rocky Mountain News. “And I’m getting that opportunity.”

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