Oklahoma company plansprivate spaceflight venture

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma-based company has launched a venture it hopes will be out of this world for those willing to pay about $100,000 a ride.

The announcement by Rocketplane Ltd. and Incredible Adventures of Sarasota, Fla., of their plans to take spaceflight reservations coincided with the successful private spaceflight this week that claimed the $10 million "Xprize."

For three or four minutes, customers can experience weightlessness in suborbital flight for $99,500, said spokeswoman Chrissy Paape.

The flights will begin and end at the Burns Flat Spaceport on the former Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base in Washita County. Paape said the company expects flights for paying customers to begin by February 2007.

Rocketplane is developing what it calls Rocketplane XP, a suborbital launch vehicle that uses a reusable rocket engine that will allow it to climb to more than 360,000 feet, or more than 68 miles above the Earth.

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