Wealthy Chinese buy space flight tickets: report13 june 2014, 13:10
More than 300 Chinese space enthusiasts have booked tickets costing nearly $100,000 for a five minute trip to outer space, AFP reports citing official media.
The 305 buyers snapped up tickets for a trip with Dutch firm Space Expedition Corp (SXC) when they went on sale on Taobao, an online retail website, the state-run China Daily reported.
The trips will take place in a two-man craft that remains in space for five to six minutes, giving the tourist a rarely seen view and the experience of weightlessness, the report said.
The tickets were sold for 599,999 yuan ($96,000) it said, adding that four entrepreneurs from the southwestern city of Chengdu and two from the commercial hub of Shanghai were among those who signed up.
No date for the trip was given. Despite a flurry of interest in space tourism in recent years, no private firms have yet been able to launch regular trips.
Participants -- who must weigh no more than 125 kilograms (275 pounds) -- are required to receive flight simulation and weightlessness training before their trip.
China has its own military-run space programme, which in the last decades has sent astronauts into orbit and landed a rover on the moon, but so far has no commercial space firms.
Ticket broker Zhang Yong told the China Daily: "It is exciting that Chinese can enjoy space travel with a click of a mouse. Hopefully it will usher in a new chapter for Chinese to explore outer space."