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Out Of This World Tourism Deal

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VSS Enterprise with wings feathered. (Photo credit: Mark Greenberg/VirginGalactic.com)

VSS Enterprise with wings feathered. (Photo credit: Mark Greenberg/VirginGalactic.com)

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MIAMI (CBS4) — South Floridians who want to book an out-of-this-world vacation can now do so at three local travel agencies. The agencies, according to the Sun Sentinel, are among a small list of firms authorized to sell trips to space aboard Virgin Galactic, the world’s first space line.

Starting next year, Virgin Galactic plans to fly tourists to the edge of space, or about 60 miles above the Earth’s surface, where passengers experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

The cost? $200,000 with deposits starting at $20,000.

The company says it has taken reservations and deposits from more than 400 people.

There are only 76 travel agencies nationwide authorized to sell Virgin Galactic space trips; 6 of them are in Florida and only 3 in South Florida. They are: Forest Travel of Aventura, Sixth Star Travel of Plantation and Unique Travel of Delray Beach.

Virgin Galactic, the travel company launched by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines and music, recently flew their first space craft over the Mojave Desert in California to complete their flight in New Mexico, home to the company’s Spaceport America terminal.

Plans call for Virgin Galactic to offer three flights a day, five days a week. Each flight can carry six passengers and two pilots, according to a news release.

Here’s how the trips work: The aircraft will set off connected to a mother ship, which will rise 50,000 feet before detaching. The Enterprise’s rocket motors will ignite, accelerating the ship to three times the speed of sound, taking it up above the Earth’s atmosphere.

Engines will then shut off, leaving passengers weightless, where they can view the Earth from space.

After four or five minutes, gravity will begin to drag the Enterprise back down to earth. The entire trip is over in less than one hour, Forest Travel said in a news release.

Click here for more information on Virgin Galactic.

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