Dutch to Rich Fools: We’ll Fly You to Space if You Visit Curacao
I have heard all about Richard Branson and his plans for space tourism with Virgin Galactic. I have even read stories about space tourism operations in Russia and the U.S.-based orbital-travel concern Space Adventures, which is currenty taking reservations for a little lunar visit that will only cost $100 million a person.
Well, the Dutch–specifically, KLM Dutch Airlines and the Netherlands government–apparently have an answer to all that: recession-friendly space tourism, premised on one’s commitment to visiting their choice tropical island retreat.
According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, found online by my assistant, KLM is partnering with Space Experience Curacao, a Dutch government-sponsored group in the Caribbean to offer so-called “suborbital” trips that one can even pay for with KLM frequent flier miles and vacation packages to Curacao, land of blue lagoons and even bluer liquor.
The flights, in a bonafide rocket plane, will take off from Curacao’s future “spaceport” (readiness date: 2014) and send people 62 miles above our planet. That’s over 300,000 feet. Think 43,000 Shaqs standing on each other’s shoulders in vertical formation. Then erase that frightening image.
At such great heights, however, people will not only enjoy the weightlessness available at earth-bound Space Camps; they will notice the curved shape of the oblate spheroid we call Earth. And perhaps things only seen with a medical marijuana prescription.
The only problem? Forced intimacy, and lack of privacy. This won’t be a group experience, and people excited about planning a sub-orbital ’60s-style astronaut costume party should calm down right now.
Apparently, you’ll only be able to take one guest on KLM’s two-seater rocket plane–aptly called the Lynx–which will only carry one other person: the pilot. Plus, the ride costs $98,000 a person. Relatively inexpensive given the competition, of course, especially considering all the Dutch-bucks you can shave off that premium over the next few years from simply visiting Curacao.
I just don’t know if I can stomach all the blue margaritas and unhinged Dutch-style fun. Frankly, my last trip to Amsterdam left me a little “sub-orbital.”
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