Birmingham, AL (December 17, 2006)
Troy Haas, CEO of Birmingham-based Brownell Travel, and Vicki Upchurch, a Brownell Travel Consultant, have been chosen amid a select group of travel consultants in the country authorized to sell the next hot travel destination – Outer Space. The appointment of Haas and Upchurch was announced this morning at a press conference held in Cannes, France at the International Luxury Travel Market conference. The commercial space tourism program will be operated by Virgin Galactic, a division of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Virgin Galactic chose Virtuoso, the leading travel industry consortia, as its North American sales partner. In turn, Virtuoso selected 40 travel specialists from its member agencies to be trained as Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Agents.
“Virgin Galactic provides an extraordinary opportunity to be among the first commercial travelers to space, and we are delighted to offer this experience to our clients,” said Haas.
In February of 2007, Haas, Upchurch and their fellow Space Agents will participate in a comprehensive training program and will then be fully accredited. This elite group will then be the first and only travel professionals who can sell and reserve seats on Virgin Galactic’s two spaceships, SpaceShipTwo (SP2) and WhiteKnightTwo (WK2).
SP2 and WK2 are on schedule to be completed in August of 2007. After a series of test flights, the crafts will be ready to carry their first commercial passengers into outer space in late 2008. Seats on the world’s first commercial space craft don’t come cheap! Initially, a ticket to the next frontier will start at $200,000, but the price is slated to drop to around $50,000 during the course of the next 10 years to allow more passengers to experience space travel.