You can keep your Corvettes and Porsches. *My* other car will be a Lynx Mark I from Xcor. Well, eventually, I hope.
While space tourism companies have been building reusable rockets for a while, the Lynx is a big step forward because it can launch off a long airstrip, rather than either an assisted launch form another plane, or a vertical launch like a space shuttle. It also has the advantage of having enough extra fuel in its rocket to abort a landing and try again, something the Space Shuttle cannot manage. Plus, look at that sporty exterior. do they come in red?
The actual trip to space still leaves a little something to be desired. Call me picky, but I think you’re not really in space unless you can actually orbit the planet. The Lynx makes a 25-minute flight into the lower stratosphere. passengers get 5 minutes of weightlessness, a view of the blackness of space before making the long spiral descent to the ground. They hope to make the first commercial flights in 2010. Xcor is already working on the Lynx Mark II which will fly twice as high and stay in space longer. I hope they also get to work on a more practical, sedan version, so groups can make the trip. Ray Bradbury assured me we’d eventually have picnics on Mars, and I’m ready.
Xcor made an animation of a Lynx flight, which I’ve included after the jump, as well as a diagram of the flight path.