Space Needle Gets Into Commercial Space Race with Contest
Seattle's Space Needle is turning fifty and the building's owners are planning to celebrate by holding an elaborate raffle-cum-contest for a free space flight.
Ron Sevart, the CEO of the Space Needle, told the AP that the landmark, constructed for the 1962 World's Fair, was built at "an optimistic time, a forward-looking time, right in the middle of the space race." To recapture that spirit of astronomical adventure, Sevart plans to give away a ticket worth roughly $110,000 for a ride on Space Adventures rocket.
Virginia-based Space Adventures used to specialize in parabolic flights, during which passengers would experience weightlessness (without ever really being in space). The company is now making a push for sub-orbital flights utilizing rockets rather than 727s.
The process of finding a winner will be long and mildly confusing. Starting soon, contestant will be able to sign up for "Space Race 2012" online. Of the expected millions of entries, 1,000 contestants will be chosen at random to create 1-minute videos making a case for themselves as space tourists. The best of the bunch will undergo fitness tests to find a winner.
The contest follows on the heels of the last Space Shuttle launch and may well give an idea of what space travel will look like in the coming decades: A giant leap for YouTube.
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