A European aerospace company unveiled a model of a jet designed to take tourists into space.
Paying passengers will be rocketed to weightlessness at more than 62 miles above the Earth. Tickets are expected to cost between $199,000-$265,000.
The space jet looks much like a conventional aircraft but it is outfitted with rocket engines. The jet will be operational by next year but the first flight will be scheduled for 2012.
The space jet would take off from regular airports using conventional jet engines. Upon reaching an altitude of about 7 ½-miles, the pilot would ignite the rocket engines, sending the craft to an altitude of 37 miles in 80 seconds.
The engines would then be shut down and the craft’s momentum would carry it to its final altitude. There, passengers would be able to gaze down on Earth and experience weightlessness for three minutes.
Only four passengers would travel on each half-hour flight.