Metro contest: Who wants to be a space cowboy?

While space tourism on commercial spaceflights has yet to take place, a number of companies have been set up offering flights in the future.

It’s your flight into space — in a not so distant future. Metro yesterday announced it will become Earth’s first newspaper to send one of its readers into space.

Readers will have the chance to enter “The Metro Race for Space” competition launching next March. Hopeful civilian astronauts should submit an inspiring proposal on why they deserve to go to space and answer a “quiz” to test their knowledge of the cosmos.

Metro editions across the world will select their local nominee based on the quality of the submission, plus a voting component involving the number of a potential space traveler’s Facebook “likes.” Nominees will then face a global jury made up of real-life astronauts before the ultimate astronaut-to-be will be chosen.

For this mission, Metro has teamed up with Space Expedition Curacao, a leading commercial space flight enterprise that boasts the Lynx spacecraft, a first generation rocket-powered spaceplane.

The winning candidate in “The Metro Race for Space” will receive astronaut training ahead of the trip scheduled for 2014. The civilian astronaut will be able to chronicle his or her preparations and space flight itself in a series of reports published in Metro across the globe.

The competition will start next March; a global winner will be announced on April 12 in a global special edition dedicated to the topic of space and the future of space travel.

Up, up and away

A history of space tourism:?
   
2001: Italian American multimillionaire Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist, reportedly paying $20 million for his trip. Travelling on a Russian Soyuz mission, he spent nearly eight days on the International Space Station.
   
Six other space tourists have since followed Tito to space on Soyuz spacecraft, the most recent being Guy Laliberte in 2009, the founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil.
   
Russia stopped space tourist flights in 2010 but plans to resume them in 2013.
   
2004: SpaceShipOne, an air-launched spaceplane, completed the first manned private spaceflight. The flight made pilot Mike Melvill the world’s first commercial astronaut.


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