1000s enter Axe space promotion

2013-01-16 18:22
The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is grappled by the Canadarm2 robotic arm at the International Space Station. (Nasa, AP)

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is grappled by the Canadarm2 robotic arm at the International Space Station. (Nasa, AP) (Nasa)

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Cape Town - Thousands of space hopefuls have applied for the Axe Apollo Space Academy which will send 22 people into space.

Axe brand owner Unilever said that there has been a warm reception to the promotion that guarantees one South African in the final group.

"We have had over 100 000 people enter globally through Axeapollo.com and in store, and over 5 000 people locally here in ZA," Axe South Africa brand manager Vincent Viviers told News24.

The promotion that was launched on 10 January will run for five months and will see finalists being subjected to a full astronaut training programme.

"Winners for the trip to Space will have had to pass through our Global Space Camp, where they experience rigorous astronaut training. Activities include Zero Gravity, G-force centrifuge, and a flight at twice the speed of sound," Viviers said.

Space tourism is set to take off and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has offered potential astronauts a trip to space for $200 000 per person or the opportunity to charter the vehicle for $1m.

The programme though is been hit with delays and some who have registered have demanded refunds.

The Axe programme aims to make use of Space Expedition Corporation (Space XC) for the trip.

This company offers tickets to space tourists at $100 000 for low earth orbits at around 100km and is scheduled for commercial operation in 2014.

"We are partnering with Space XC to send guys to space, and they will blast off from a Spaceport in Curaçao in the Lynx Space Shuttle," said Viviers.

A key differentiator for Space XC is that the vehicle does a horizontal take-off for the roughly one hour long flight.

The competition closes on 31 May.


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