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A ticket for space for US$ 100 : Swiss Space Tourism launches a staggering challenge
Published on 14/06/2019 à 12:07
Branson, Bezos ...
On July 20th, exactly 50 years ago, the first man walked on the moon. A historic date that Richard Branson wishes to commemorate with the launch of the first Virgin Galactic space tourism shuttle, the SpaceShipTwo plane-rocket. In the race to conquer space, another American giant is close behind him: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin rocket, the New Shepard.
... and Boris Otter
Far from the fortune of the two billionaires, Boris Otter, a Geneva enthusiast of aviation and astronautics, is determined to raise the necessary funds to board one of the two spacecraft. After Claude Nicollier in 1992, he would become the second Swiss citizen to fly to the stars.
To finance his dream, the future space tourist had an unusual idea : to organize a competition for which the first prize offers a ticket for space flight.
Become a commercial astronaut for US$ 100
The principle is simple : to participate in the contest, you must first become an active member of the Swiss Space Tourism Association for a contribution of US$ 100 (EUR 80). The second condition is to successfully pass a medical check ensuring that the participant can physically cope with a suborbital flight above the line of Karman at an altitude of 100 km.
20’000 participants, 5 commercial astronauts
Boris Otter aims to gather 20’000 members, raising US$ 2’000’000, to cover the costs of flying with the Blue Origin in its six-passenger New Shepard rocket. "The advantage of Blue Origin is that the waiting list is shorter than that of Virgin Galactic. Virgin already has 650 registered participants. " says Boris Otter.
In order to select the winners among the 20'000 members, a quiz on the basis of 30 space related questions, the writing of a personal motivation text of 15 lines and the confirmation of the absence of medical contra-indications will allow the Selection Committee to determine the 5 winners of the ticket for a flight in the stars. Boris Otter, meanwhile, de facto reserves the first seat for himself.
An enthusiast trained at Star City in Russia
A qualified airline pilot graduated from Swiss Aviation Training and currently a simulator pilot at Skyguide, Boris Otter had the chance to take part into 3 cosmonaut training modules in Star City, Moscow, from 2016 onwards. In this training center of the greatest international cosmonauts, he was trained by the same instructors as Thomas Pesquet. "Many children dream of becoming a firefighter, pilot or cosmonaut. Me, I am lucky to be all three of them, or almost... I only have one more step to go to the end of my dream : to observe the blue planet from space!".
To achieve this, Boris Otter has allowed himself one year to raise the necessary funds. The countdown has begun : a little over 300 days remain for him to succeed in his challenge and share his childhood dream with 5 other enthusiasts. They, like him, have their heads in the stars.
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