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Booking Space Flights for $50,000 or, if Sky’s the Limit, $1 Million

Figuring the time is right, Lisl Griffin is taking commercial passenger reservations on NASA’s space shuttle for a three-day low-orbit package leaving in the mid-1990s. The fare is $1 million.

For the economy-minded, the Newport Beach Lido Travel manager is also offering a 12-hour, six-orbit trip aboard a private commercial spacecraft for $50,000. Its departure date is Oct. 12, 1992 (exactly 500 years after Columbus discovered America). It will carry 20 passengers.

“For a lot of people, money is no object,” said Griffin, who claims she has a foreign client who wants to send his son on the $1-million jaunt. “We have a lot of wealthy people looking for unusual trips.”

The trips with NASA and the private spacecraft are being promoted by Society Expeditions, a Seattle travel agency that claims NASA’s department of commercialization is giving serious consideration to this entrepreneurial adventure.

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“This follows the thoughts of President Reagan, who said he wants private enterprise to find commercial values from space,” said agency President Theodore Charles Swartz in a telephone interview. “There are 20,000 travel agencies in the United States just waiting for this. It’s going to be big.”

The way Swartz explains it, the private spacecraft will be a more reasonable way to go. “We know it costs $74 million to light the candle of the space shuttle, but we figure with thousands of people willing to take the flight on the private spacecraft, our cost will be about $100,000 per liftoff.”

Griffin believes that commercial space trips will become a reality and that “taking reservations is not just fun and games. Five years ago PanAm was taking names for travel in space, and I made a reservation.”


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