20 February 1998
A Reuters article posted to CNN Online on 12/31/97 explored the topic of space tourism. The article began with the near term, covering entrepreneurs such as Zegrahm Space Voyages. According to the article, Zegrahm is planning a seven-day, $98,000 vacation package that will include a 2.5 hour flight on 01 Dec 2001 to what Reuters called "the official 'astronaut altitude' of 62 miles above sea-level." The flight will provide the participants with only 2.5 minutes of actual micro-gravity experience.
The article also covered the Civilian Astronaut Corps, which costs $3,500 to join but hopes to send its members on a sub-orbital flight with up to four minutes of "weightlessness."
Reuters attributes this interest in space tourism to the incentive of the X Prize, offering $10 million to the first private group who can send at least 3 passengers into outer space (defined to be an altitude of 62 miles) twice within two weeks.
At the end of the article, The Artemis Project's Ian Randal Strock got in the last word:
Others are taking a longer-term view. 'We're looking to space tourism from other companies to build interest in our project,"' said Ian Randal Strock, vice president of Lunar Resources Co., a Texas company with hopes of building a commercial moonbase resort.
'It is all just a question of who gets there first.'
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