If you happen to spend much of your time flying around on Virgin passenger planes, you’re in with a chance of winning a free trip into space.
The person who flies the most miles with Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia between now and August 7 next year will bag a seat on a suborbital space flight on the company’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo aircraft.
Second prize gets you a place on a zero-gravity flight, giving you the chance to experience true weightlessness high above the planet.
Virgin Airlines says it’ll count the total number of miles accumulated, regardless of whether or not you use the miles before the closing date.
To enter, you need to sign up. Full details about the competition can be found on Virgin’s Mission Galactic page here. To have any chance of winning, you’ll obviously need to be a really, really frequent flyer with Virgin, but hey, you never know. Perhaps some of the most frequent flyers won’t bother signing up, leaving you in with a shout.
A regular ticket for a flight on SpaceShipTwo, which is expected to make its maiden flight some time next year, costs a hefty $200,000 (£128,000). Five hundred extremely wealthy individuals have already signed up for a seat on the aircraft.
Last month Virgin boss Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur behind the company’s space project, announced that SpaceShipTwo’s maiden flight will be a family affair, with his children Holly and Sam planning to join him when it takes off from a specially built spaceport in New Mexico.
Virgin’s space-bound aircraft can carry two pilots and six passengers, and will make its journey to space on the back of the WhiteKnightTwo launch aircraft. Once they reach a height of 15,000 meters (50,000 feet), the two aircraft will separate before SpaceShipTwo blasts into space.
Space tourism is becoming big business, with several companies around the world competing to establish themselves in the market.