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305 buy suborbital flights in one morning from AFP

When SXC put suborbital tickets on sale last week in China, they sold 305 tickets on the first morning.

(AFP) 13th June 2014

More than 300 Chinese space enthusiasts have booked tickets costing nearly $100,000 for a five minute trip to outer space, official media reported on Friday.

The 305 buyers snapped up tickets for a trip with Dutch firm Space Expedition Corp (SXC) when they went on sale on Taobao, an online retail website, the state-run China Daily reported.

The tickets were sold for 599,999 yuan ($96,000). The Taobao page selling the tickets was only available on June 12th, a spokesman for the website told AFP. A screenshot seen by AFP showed that transactions had been made.

No date for the trip was given. Despite a flurry of interest in space tourism in recent years, no private firms have yet been able to launch regular trips.

Participants who must weigh no more than 125 kilograms (275 pounds) are required to receive flight simulation and weightlessness training before their trip.

China has its own military-run space programme, which in the last decades has sent astronauts into orbit and landed a rover on the moon, but so far has no commercial space firms.

Ticket broker Zhang Yong told the China Daily: "It is exciting that Chinese can enjoy space travel with a click of a mouse. Hopefully it will usher in a new chapter for Chinese to explore outer space."