Episode: Space Tourism Gets Sweetly Personal for These Two Strong Lady Travelers

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Space Tourism Gets Sweetly Personal for These Two Strong Lady Travelers

One woman mortgaged her home to buy a ticket to space. Another decided never to have children so she could accept an opportunity for space travel at a moment's notice, even a one way ticket. These two stories collide in this week's episode about women taking the giant leap of commercial space travel. 

"I’m going to be seeing the perimeter of the Earth. But still, the whole idea of actually being that far removed from it is, for me, it’s priceless,” Lina Borozdina

Lina Borozdina has clutched her $200,000 ticket to fly on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galatic for over 10 years. Through divorce and a battle with cancer she has refused to trade in the ticket for a financial cushion. “That money is the money that I don’t count on,” she says. “That is my dream, and it’s put away in a separate box.” Lina is still waiting to go. She just really wants to know what it feels like, not just what it looks like, to see earth from above. She's never gotten a satisfying answer even after asking several astronauts. Until today. 

“I was giggling like a little kid and one of my crew-mates took off his gloves and let it sort of spin in the air, and I’m like, oh my god, I can’t believe I’m in space,” Anousheh Ansari.

Anousheh Ansari is an engineer and entrepreneur and the first female private space explorer. She tells us what it's like to rocket up to orbit, about lifting out of her seat with weightlessness and being overcome with joy and excitement so much that she spun and spun and spun until she found herself cleaning up vomit in zero gravity. Kind of gross, but also kind of amazing.

The two women have a lot in common: both have childhood dreams of space travel that they couldn't shake, both are immigrants to the U.S., both well educated and they are most certainly not thrill seekers. “I don’t even go on, you know, roller coasters. To me, it wasn’t about the rocket ride. It was about being in space,” Anousheh says. They are also both just so so likable you can't help rooting for them. 

The magic really happens at the end of this episode, when Lina and Anousheh have their first conversation. They talk logistics, like going to the bathroom in space as a lady. But also, Lina gets an answer to her driving curiosity: What does it really feel like to see our planet from space? Are our biggest earth-bound questions answerable?

This show definitely got us rethinking our fears and expanding our mental horizons. How about you? Would you take a trip out of this world after hearing this? Why? Let us know in the comments below or record your answer on your phone and email it to us at newtechcity@wnyc.org. 


Space Travel Options Mentioned in the Audio:

  1. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic:Tickets on sale for $250,000. Blast-off delayed multiple times but now looking like early 2015.
  2. Space Adventures:
    1. Circumlunar Mission. Ticket price is not yet determined.Expected Blast-off: 2018
    2. Visit the International Space Station. Cost: Around $20 million. Blast-offs began in 2001, and international recording artist Sarah Brightman is set to go in 2015. There’s an option to extend this trip and conduct a spacewalk accompanied by a professional cosmonaut.
    3. Suborbital Spaceflight: Tickets will be $100,000. Blast-off has yet to be announced.  
  3. XCOR Aerospace: Tickets are on sale for $95,000-$100,000 depending on the aircraft you choose. Blast-off expected in 2015.
  4. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin: The suborbital adventure’s ticket price and blast-off date has yet to be announced.

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