What do Lance Bass, a member of the boy band N’Sync, and you have in common? Both of you may be among the first earth bound tourists in space.
Dennis Tito, the Californian millionaire who paid a hefty $20 million to hitch a ride last May on a Russian rocket going to the International Space Station, was the first “regular” person to look down from the stars. Last month a South African businessman secured a place on board a space flight and, later this year, a television production company will sponsor and film Lance Bass as he shoots off into the wild blue yonder.
So where do you fit in to all of this? US Airways — the world’s first airline to offer space flight as part of a frequent flyer award program — is now offering Dividend Miles members the chance to win a free sub-orbital space trip. The grand prize winner will take an hour-long ride aboard the Cosmopolis-21. The craft is about the size of a minivan and will be carried on a plane to 17,000 feet, where it will separate, ignite its rockets and reach an altitude of 62 miles. Before shutting off the power, the passengers will experience three minutes of zero-gravity and then glide back to earth. These space flights are expected to start in 2004-5.
The sweepstakes will launch on May 1, 2002. To enter, Dividend Miles members first must register online at http://www.usairways.com/dm/spaceadventures.
Once registered, members will earn one sweepstakes entry for each roundtrip flight on a qualifying business-fare ticket with US Airways within North America (including the Caribbean), and two entries for each roundtrip qualifying business-fare ticket between the U.S. and Europe. Travel must be completed by Sept. 30, 2002. Qualifying business fares include purchased First Class, Envoy Class and full-fare Coach Class tickets.
Additional prizes feature other elements of US Airways’ and Space Adventures’ program:
First prize is a trip to the Edge of Space, flying in a MiG-25 high-performance jet at more than twice the speed of sound (Mach 2.5) and at altitudes of 80,000 feet or higher where the winner will view the blackness of space and curvature of the Earth.
Second prize is a Zero-Gravity flight for two people who will float weightlessly just like the astronauts training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut
Third prize is a Space Shuttle launch tour, also for two people, to experience the thrill of a live countdown and launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, accompanied by an astronaut as host.
FINE PRINT: All winners will be selected in a random drawing conducted on or about Oct. 14, 2002. Only Dividend Miles members over 18 who are residents in the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) are eligible to enter. No purchase is necessary to enter or qualify for the Sweepstakes. Void where prohibited.
Entries will be registered automatically when Dividend Miles members travel after they have registered for the sweepstakes. Or entries may be made by mail by printing name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if applicable), and the respective Dividend Miles account number on a 3″x 5” card, placing it in an envelope and mailing it to: US Airways Space Adventures Sweepstakes, PO Box 4119, Grand Rapids, MN 55730-4119. Entries must be postmarked by 9/30/02, and received by 10/07/02. Dividend Miles members may submit as many entries as they wish, but each entry must be mailed separately. The odds of winning depend upon number of eligible entries received during the promotion period.
One thing’s for certain, if you found yourself double-booked and bounced off this flight, a hotel for the night and a first-class seat on a flight leaving the next day wouldn’t seem much by way of compensation.